Democrats Winning the Money Race – Bette’s-A-Helping

Congressional Quarterly
Democrats Continue Their Domination of the Money Race
By Greg Giroux
Tue Oct 16, 6:30 PM ET

The Democrats may not control the White House, but the unpopularity of the Bush administration has enabled their party’s presidential candidates to consistently raise more in campaign funds than their Republican counterparts.

The eight Democratic presidential candidates reported total receipts of more than $66 million in this year’s third quarter, according to a analysis of reports that were filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) ahead of Monday’s deadline. That compared to the $57 million in total receipts that was reported by the nine major Republican candidates during the same period. For the duration of the 2008 campaign, Democratic candidates have reported total receipts of $244 million, compared with $175 million for the Republican candidates.

In the third quarter, which ran from the beginning of July to the end of September, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama raised the lion’s share of the Democratic money. Clinton, who has widened her advantage over Obama in public opinion polls, reported total third-quarter receipts of $27.9 million, bringing her year-to-date receipts to $90.9 million. Obama, who outraised Clinton in this year’s second quarter, reported raising $21.3 million in the quarter and $80.3 million for the year.

Clinton spent more money in the third quarter – $22.6 million – than any other presidential candidate. Yet she was the only major Democratic presidential hopeful whose campaign raised more than it spent during the reporting period. At a time when most candidates are beginning to deplete their campaign treasuries to prepare for a more visible phase of the campaign, Clinton increased her cash reserves to more than $50 million. About $35 million of that is available for the primary campaign, and the $15 million that Clinton can use for a general election campaign is far and away the most of any candidate in either party.

Obama reported spending $21.5 million in the third quarter, slightly more than he raised during the same period. Obama had about $36 million left in the bank as October began, of which about $32 million can be spent in the Democratic primary campaign.

The largest single expenditure for both Clinton and Obama was on campaign payroll. Clinton’s campaign spent about $4.1 million on staff salaries and Obama’s campaign spent about $3.8 million on payroll. These outlays do not include payroll taxes, which also are among the largest campaign expenditures for presidential candidates. Clinton spent $1.9 million on payroll taxes in the third quarter, compared with $1.7 million for Obama’s campaign.

Some of Clinton’s more notable third-quarter contributors included actors Alec Baldwin, Vivica A. Fox, Marlo Thomas, Maura Tierney, singer and actress Bette Midler, Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone, musician Jon Bon Jovi, and Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, who holds the same job that Bill Clinton held before his election as president in 1992.

Midler also donated to Obama’s campaign in the third quarter, and she previously gave money to the campaign of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. Other Obama contributors in the third quarter included actresses Linda Evans and Nancy Travis, Rep. Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii and author Judy Blume.

Obama reported spending more on media than Clinton in the third quarter – $3.2 million to $1.7 million. Obama also reported third-quarter outlays of $2.1 million on telemarketing.

Clinton and Obama were well ahead of the third-place Democratic finisher, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, who reported third-quarter receipts of $7.2 million and spending of $8.3 million. Edwards, a former trial lawyer, raised at least $1.2 million during the reporting period from donors who identified their occupation wholly or in part as “lawyer” or “attorney.” Edwards’ cash-on-hand was $12.4 million as October began.

Clinton, Obama and Edwards reported raising more in the third quarter from donors in California than in any other state. California, the nation’s most populous state, has a pronounced Democratic lean, and the state will be hosting an influential presidential primary next Feb. 5.

Among other Democratic presidential candidates, Bill Richardson reported raising $5.4 million in the third quarter – of which at least $1 million came from donors in his home state. He spent $6.7 million and had $5.8 million left to spend as October began. Richardson’s largest campaign expenses were on direct mail ($1.6 million) and media ($1.5 million).

Delaware Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. raised $1.8 million for the third quarter and $8.2 million for his campaign; he spent $2.6 million in the third quarter and has $1.9 million in the bank. He received at least $235,000 from donors in New York and $218,000 from donors in Pennsylvania – two states that are close to his home state of Delaware, where donors gave Biden at least $198,000 in the third quarter.

With $1.5 million in total third-quarter receipts, Connecticut Sen. Christopher J. Dodd placed sixth among the Democratic presidential candidates. Dodd, with $3.9 million in cash-on-hand, raised more money from donors in New York, which abuts Connecticut, than in any other state.

Rounding out the Democratic field are Ohio Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, who raised $1 million in the third quarter and now has $327,000, and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, whose report was not available Tuesday afternoon.

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