Clinton, Giuliani Hold Financial Leads

By Matthew Mosk and Sarah Cohen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani (R), the front-runners for their parties' presidential nominations, entered the final months of the primary season with another crucial advantage: more money to spend than their rivals.

Clinton topped the Democratic field, reporting $35 million available to spend on the primaries, edging out Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), who had roughly $32 million in reserve for the battle for the nomination, the campaigns reported. Both Democrats continued to enjoy a huge advantage over their Republican counterparts. Giuliani ended September with $16 million in his campaign account, while his closest competitor, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, had $9 million in available cash.

Obama, Giuliani and Romney all spent more than they raised in the past three months, with Romney spending $21 million -- more than twice what his campaign brought in.

Struggling to catch the better-known front-runners in the polls, Obama and Romney have been far more active in spending on television ads than their rivals. Obama has aired more than 4,000 spots on Iowa television this year, compared with 1,600 for Clinton. Romney, meanwhile, has run more ads in Iowa and New Hampshire than have all the other Republican candidates combined. Romney had placed 10,893 television and radio ads through Oct. 10, according to Nielsen Co., and advertising accounted for almost a third of Romney's outlay over the past three months. Romney also lent his campaign $8.5 million.

When asked about their pace of spending, Romney campaign officials have pointed to the significant hurdles the former governor faced as a relative unknown in a field of high-profile GOP contenders.

"The fact that Governor Romney, when we announced, was at 4 percent [in the polls] and was practically unknown outside of Utah and Massachusetts was a significant challenge, especially given the fact that we were placed into a fundraising environment that had us competing against candidates who had universal name recognition among Republican donors," said Kevin Madden, a Romney spokesman.

While most of the candidates concentrated their spending in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission yesterday show that Giuliani invested thousands of dollars opening campaign offices in places such as Fargo, N.D., and Columbia, Mo.

Giuliani's decision to spend there, as well as in Florida, New Jersey and Illinois -- all states that will be part of a Feb. 5 mega-primary -- signals that he alone among the Republicans is laying the groundwork for a national primary strategy, campaign strategists said.

"It looks a lot like Rudy is banking on a breakout strategy, where he survives early losses and gets to the big states on January 29 and Super Tuesday," said Scott Reed, a former campaign strategist for Robert J. Dole who is not attached to any presidential campaign this year.

Giuliani raised $11 million in the third quarter of 2007 -- more than his Republican counterparts -- and spent $13 million without making a significant purchase of television advertising.

The latest entrant to the GOP field, former senator Fred D. Thompson (Tenn.) reported $7.1 million in cash on hand. Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) finished September with $3.5 million in the bank, but after factoring in $1.7 million in debts and $1.8 million in funds he can use only if he becomes the GOP nominee, McCain finished the third quarter $94,000 in the red. Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.) had just $95,000 on hand after he spent heavily in an unsuccessful attempt to win the Iowa straw poll.

Those figures were dwarfed by the amounts banked by the leading Democrats from July to September.

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