If Sen. Barack Obama has proven one thing during the early part of the 2008 Democratic primary campaign, it is that he is a prolific fundraiser. Obama managed to out do his eye popping $25.7 million raised in the first quarter of the year by an additional $6.8 million. For the second quarter of the year, the Illinois Senator raised $32.5 million from 154,000 individual donors. President George W. Bush holds the overall fundraising record for the second quarter. During the same time period in 2003, Bush raised $35.1 million. The Clinton campaign has said unofficially that they expect her to raise somewhere in the neighborhood of $27 million this time around. Both Clinton and Obama’s totals are triple or more than what the other contenders for the nomination have added to their coffers.

John Edwards is currently third in the polls, and will be a distant third in the fundraising race. It took a mad dash by the Edwards people to hit their $9 million goal for the quarter, but as of 8:51 PM last night, they reached their goal according to campaign manager David Bonoir. On a blog posting at the official Edwards campaign website Bonoir wrote, “Thanks to you, we now know this campaign will enter the next phase with the resources to compete. No matter what they throw at us, John Edwards’ message of substance will break through to voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, and key states all over the country—and that’s all we need to win.”

However, this amount was $5 million less than then the campaign brought in earlier this year, but they still say that they are on pace to meet their goal of raising $40 million by January 2008. Bill Richardson was just short of Edwards. His campaign brought in $7 million, but his half year total of $14 million is $9 million behind the former North Carolina Senator.

On the Obama website, campaign manager David Plouffe said, “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. Frankly, when we entered this race, we did not think that was possible. We estimated at this point of the campaign we’d be at least $20-25 million behind one of our fellow candidates. But due to the amazing outpouring of support from people all across the country, remarkably, we should be on at least even financial footing for the duration of the campaign.”

The interesting thing about the Obama campaign’s fundraising is that they have out raised Clinton in donations for the primary campaign. Out of Obama’s $32.5 million, $31 million is for the primary campaign. In the first quarter of the year, they out raised the Clinton campaign in donations for the primary season. This is critical because donations taken for the general election can only be spent if the candidate is the party’s nominee, but contributions for the primaries can be spent right away.

In the end, it won’t matter how much money Barack Obama raises if he doesn’t spend it to try and catch up to Clinton in the polls. Being that he not only trails her nationally, but also in every state poll but two, Obama may need every dime he has raised, just to give himself a chance to catch Clinton. Money doesn’t win elections, but you can’t win an election without it. Obama has once again proven that he has the money, now all he needs is the message.

Obama campaign

Edwards campaign

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Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at

www.411mania.com/politics 

Jason can also be heard every Sunday at 7:00 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse
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