Hints of Strong Fundraising Emerge

By Matthew Mosk
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 1, 2007

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson announced last night he raised about $5.2 million over the past three months for his Democratic presidential bid, an amount his campaign said would keep him within reach of the front-runners for his party's nomination.

How close he is to the others, though, remains unclear. Aides to Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) said last week they expected to have each raised at least $17 million before the fundraising quarter ended last night. But neither camp revealed its totals yesterday.

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe sent out an e-mail to supporters last night reporting that the campaign has taken in more than 500,000 donations from more than 350,000 people. That would suggest that the pace of Obama's fundraising, while still vigorous, slowed over the summer.

A senior adviser to former senator John Edwards (D-N.C.) said earlier this week that he expects the campaign to report raising about $7 million for the quarter. Formal reports are not due to the Federal Election Commission until Oct. 15.

Republican candidates were equally coy about their third-quarter totals. Aides to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney said last night he raised about $10 million in the third quarter and contributed $6 million to $7 million of his own money. None of the other Republicans released totals yesterday.

The third quarter of fundraising is traditionally slower than the first half of the year. Most candidates have already tapped their most loyal supporters, and the summer months can be a tough time to connect with potential donors. Still, all signs suggest that this year's breakneck pace for political fundraising will continue, with at least Clinton and Obama likely to stay on pace to raise $100 million this year. Both raised about $60 million during the first six months of 2007.

Richardson's haul brings his total to about $18 million for the first nine months of the year.

"We continue to count contributions as they come in throughout the day, but this figure obviously separates us from the second-tier candidates and makes clear this is a four-person race," Richardson spokesman Tom Reynolds told the Associated Press.

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