WASHINGTON -- White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) beat chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in second-quarter fund-raising, hauling in about $32.5 million with $31 million available for the primary.
"We are on a financial course that will allow us to both fully fund efforts in the early primary and caucus states, and also participate vigorously in all the February 5 contests, including large states like California, New Jersey, New York, Georgia and Missouri," Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said in a memo released Sunday.
The money is a likely record-breaking collection in terms of the amount raised for the last three months and in number of donors -- 158,000 individuals. Last week, Clinton's campaign said she will have raised about $27 million for the second quarter. Her campaign said about $21 million of that was for the primary, which means there is more than a $10 million spread between the front-runners in primary collections. Reports to be filed later in the month will reveal the names of donors and how much cash is on hand.
A candidate can collect a maximum of $2,300 per person for the primary and another $2,300 for the general, money that can be tapped into only if the candidate becomes the nominee.
Cash is no guarantee of success
In assessing who has more money, the number that is meaningful is the primary amount.
Unlike the first quarter, where Clinton was encouraging donors to max out for both the primary and general elections, Clinton in the last three months was mainly hunting for primary money.
Money alone does not guarantee success in the crucial early primary states, especially Iowa and New Hampshire. In 2004, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean had more money but still lost the Iowa caucus.
In the money race, there remains a wide gulf between the Democratic front-runners and their closest rivals, former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.
Friday, Richardson's team announced it raised $7 million -- giving him some bragging rights because it put him near the $9 million the Edwards camp announced Sunday.
Martha Burk, a senior adviser for Richardson, said Sunday: "I think it is significant that he is as close to Edwards as he is. ... It represents progress. ... We are coming up."
The Edwards camp on Sunday said they will have enough money stockpiled for the Iowa showdown vote -- tentatively in January but possibly earlier -- to be competitive.
But Edwards, even if he wins Iowa -- he is running first in polls -- may not be able to fund full primary efforts in other battlegrounds, the point Plouffe was making in his memo.
"The momentum coming out of the early states is going to determine the nomination," said Edwards deputy campaign manager Jonathan Prince in a conference call with reporters Sunday.
258,000 donate to Obama
Obama's fund-raising power has yielded him at least $55.7 million from 258,000 donors since he jumped into the race in February. Clinton, with $26.1 million moved to her presidential fund in the first quarter, is at a $53 million estimated total.
The Obama campaign is well on the way to breaking fund-raising records. Bloomberg News said "Obama's $32.5 million is more than the $30.8 million raised by all Democratic presidential candidates combined for the same period four years ago, and all but matches the $35 million that President Bush raised in the second quarter of 2003."