Clinton, McCain Lead Parties In Washington Area Cash Race

Hillary Clinton has a financial foothold.
Hillary Clinton has a financial foothold. (Elise Amendola - AP)
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By Ann E. Marimow and Sarah Cohen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, February 3, 2008

Washington area campaign donors gave more than twice as much money to Democratic presidential candidates as to Republicans last year, and New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton easily surpassed rival Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in raising funds in the region, according to presidential campaign finance reports filed late last week.

On the Republican side, donors in the District and Virginia favored Arizona Sen. John McCain over former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, and Maryland residents raised the most money for former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who dropped out of the race last week.

Overall, the Democratic presidential candidates collected $21.6 million, compared with the GOP's $8.7 million.

Clinton raised $10.8 million, and Obama raised $7.4 million.

Novelist John Grisham of Virginia has raised campaign cash for Clinton, and former Virginia lieutenant governor Don Beyer has collected checks for Obama. Romney has Maryland hotel magnate Bill Marriott on his side, while would-be D.C. Nationals owner Fred Malek is backing McCain.

As the candidates head into delegate-rich primaries Tuesday in states including California and New York, they continue to ask Washington region residents, who vote Feb. 12, to open their wallets.

Just before the State of the Union address last week, Obama raised money at the National Museum for Women in the Arts. That night, McCain's campaign hosted a fundraiser at Charlie Palmer's Steakhouse. Former president Bill Clinton, meanwhile, was raising money for his wife at a private home in Chevy Chase.

Hillary Clinton's local fundraising edge among Democrats, consultant Anita Dunn said, comes from her deep ties to the area's Democratic establishment from eight years as first lady and from her willingness to raise money from lobbyists. Obama does not accept contributions from registered federal lobbyists or federal political action committees.

"You have a lot of Clintonistas here, living here and lobbying here. It's a very strong network," U.S. Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) said. "Obama is the consummate outsider, and this is an inside-the-Beltway town."

Overall in the District, Clinton raised $4.7 million last year, compared with Obama's $3.2 million. Clinton found her most lucrative support from residents of Northwest Washington neighborhoods, including the Palisades, Georgetown and Woodley Park, followed by Montgomery County's Chevy Chase and Potomac. McLean was the only Virginia Zip code in Clinton's top 10 for the region.

Obama outpaced Clinton in Prince George's, Howard, Calvert and St. Mary's counties and in Falls Church and Fauquier County. Bowie lawyer Orlan Johnson credited Obama with attracting newcomers such as himself to the process. Johnson said he has raised more than $200,000 for Obama through intimate gatherings, such as one Wednesday night at an Italian bistro in Bowie.

Among Republicans, McCain raised $2.6 million in the region, followed by Giuliani with $2.3 million and Romney with just under $2 million. Former governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, who has been lagging in fundraising and the polls, raised $168,000, finding pockets of support in McLean, Great Falls and Centreville.

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