Dateline: 11 July 2007
Figures for second quarter fundraising by the various presidential candidates are now in. There are a number of key stories below the headline figures and, as usual, good news for some and bad for others.
Obama: In the first quarter Obama narrowly trailed Clinton. This time he beat her by a handy $5 million. But it gets better. Nearly all of Obama’s money is for the primaries. Some of Clinton’s is for the general, and cannot be legally spent on her primary campaign. On that measure Obama won the first quarter too, and in the second quarter he outperformed Clinton and Edwards combined.
Clinton: Some fast talking enabled her to claim a dubious victory in the first quarter. This time she was clearly beaten by the newcomer. Talk that her candidacy is ‘inevitable’ now looks highly premature.
Edwards: He hangs on to third place, but with a clear decline on the first quarter. Clinton beat him by two to one and Obama by three to one. With $9 million he is not pressing for second place, but is certainly being pressed for third.
Richardson: With $7 million the governor of New Mexico is starting to look like one of the top contenders. He can’t outspend Edwards – who has unlimited funds of his own – but almost catching him in fundraising gives the governor clear momentum.
Dodd: an impressive $8 million in the first quarter falls by more than half. Time to give up.
Giuliani: $17 million gives him first place on the Republican side of the aisle. But that itself is worrying, as Obama raised almost twice that.
Romney: The Republicans’ king of fundraising falls to second place – at least if you discount the $6 million he donated himself. He is a multi- multi-millionaire so, like Edwards, he is not going to run out of cash.
McCain: He started the year thinking he would have $200 million or $50 million per quarter. He failed to hit 25% of that target for the first half of the year. Despite neglecting the Senate and all ordinary campaigning to focus on fundraising his second quarter total showed a decline on the first. He also spent more than he raised, with half a year still to go before the first votes are cast. This is a near meltdown situation and he is laying off some of the impressive campaign team that he has assembled.
Thompson: Fred Thompson is not a declared candidate, so he doesn’t have to declare any fundraising figures. There are all sorts of rumors about impressive figures. It is even possible that the decline in Republican totals across the board reflects his possible entry into the race.
Is Thompson the reason for the anaemic performance for Republican candidates? Or is it down to divisions over immigration? Or, worse, is it because Republicans are just not popular? The party’s House and Senate committees are also way behind the Democrats’.
John McCain has added to the impression that he is fading. Obama is not the Democrats’ frontrunner, yet, but another quarter like this and he will be. Six months ago Clinton and McCain were both ‘inevitable’. That is looking an absurd assessment now.
Quentin Langley is editor of http://www.quentinlangley.net an academic at the University of Cardiff and is a columnist with Campaigns & Elections. This article was first published in the Common Sense series for Lake Champlain Weekly