Giuliani Leads GOP 3rd-Quarter Money Race

By Matthew Mosk
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 5, 2007

Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani announced yesterday that he raised $11 million for his presidential bid over the past three months, edging out his closest Republican competitor in the money chase but still posting a total that was half that of the leading Democratic candidates.

The GOP's lackluster fundraising numbers continued a trend in which 2007 has emerged as one of the party's worst years for raising money in decades. The Democratic front-runners, Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.), each raised more than $20 million in the quarter.

Giuliani, who reported that he had $16 million remaining in his campaign coffers, narrowly led the rest of the Republican field in fundraising. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney raised $10 million in the three months that ended Sept. 30 and lent his campaign an additional $8.5 million, ending with $9 million in the bank. Former senator Fred D. Thompson (Tenn.) raised about $9 million, aides said. Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) raised $6 million and had $3.6 million in cash on hand. And Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) capitalized on grass-roots enthusiasm for his maverick candidacy, raising just over $5 million.

Overall, Republican presidential candidates trailed Democrats in fundraising by nearly $100 million -- a gap that is unprecedented in 30 years.

Some Republican leaders said yesterday they are trying to determine whether the drought is merely a short-term setback -- the result of an unpopular president and a field of presidential candidates that has failed to capture the party's imagination -- or whether the Democrats' mastery of the Internet has changed the fundraising landscape.

"I think you might be seeing Republican burnout," said Ed Rollins, a veteran GOP strategist. "You just have to look at the number of donors coming off the Internet, the numbers of younger donors now participating -- it's dramatic. The Democrats, they're out there, they're hungry. We just got fat, dumb, and happy."

Democrats' fundraising advantage has expanded dramatically since the party took control of Congress after the 2006 elections and gained leverage over the lobbyists and interest groups that tend to park their money with those wielding power on Capitol Hill.

The campaign accounts of the two key Democratic congressional fundraising committees have also swelled this year. Combined, they have $42 million in reserve to wage campaigns for House and Senate seats around the country; their Republican counterparts have $8.7 million.

Several Republican finance consultants believe it is a momentary phenomenon -- one that could be erased once their party has a nominee, and a clearly identified opponent. Many are banking on a Clinton presidential candidacy to galvanize their efforts.

One recent appeal e-mailed by the Republican National Committee displays a photo of Bill and Hillary Clinton stamped with the message "4 More Years?"

"Is that what we want back in the White House: Bill and Hillary once again using the power of the federal government to defend their friends and attack their enemies?" wrote Robert M. "Mike" Duncan, the RNC chairman. "We cannot allow that to happen."

Ron Kaufman, a fundraiser advising the Romney campaign, said he thinks the lack of a political foil has been hampering Republican efforts.

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