Obama campaign raises $40 million in March
CHICAGO — Democratic presidential contender Sen. Barack Obama continued to display his unrivaled prowess for fundraising by raising more than $40 million in March, about double the amount raised by Sen. Hillary Clinton, to bring the overall take for his White House bid to more than $200 million, aides said Thursday.
The campaign of presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain of Arizona said that while its fundraising did not compare with Obama’s, he raised more than the $11 million generated in February.
Though Obama’s totals for March were down from the record $55 million he raised in February, the fundraising numbers starkly reveal his ability to pour huge resources into his bid for the Democratic nomination against a Clinton campaign that largely finds itself in the underdog role, unable to match the Illinois senator dollar-for-dollar and ad-for-ad in the final nominating contests.
The numbers also underscore Clinton’s early reliance on donors who have already contributed the $2,300 federal maximum for the primaries, while Obama has depended on lower-dollar donors who can continue to contribute to his campaign.
With its March totals, the Obama’s campaign has generated more than $234 million in donations through the course of the battle for the presidency. Campaign officials said nearly half of the 442,000 people who gave money last month, about 218,000 donors, were first-time contributors.
"Today we’re seeing the American people’s extraordinary desire to change Washington, as tens of thousands of new contributors joined the more than a million Americans who have already taken ownership of this campaign for change," Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, said in a statement.
Clinton’s campaign has long acknowledged it would not match Obama’s ability to deploy resources in upcoming states, such as in Pennsylvania, where he has spent about $2 million on TV ads compared to more than $400,000 for Clinton. Her $20 million total for March is down from the nearly $35 million she raised in February, but her campaign on Thursday launched its first TV ad in North Carolina, which votes May 6, the same day as Indiana’s primary.
"I’ll have enough money to compete," Clinton said during a California visit that included fundraising and a scheduled appearance on the "Tonight Show." "Obviously, Sen. Obama has more than enough money to compete."
Beyond fundraising concerns, Clinton, a New York senator, also found herself under pressure from two of her top supporters. Gov. John Corzine of New Jersey and Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania said separately that she must eclipse Obama’s lead in the popular vote totals of primary contests to justify gaining the support of superdelegates who may decide the Democratic nominee.
"Clinton has to win Pennsylvania," Murtha said in an interview with the Huffington Post. "She has to be ahead in the popular vote to have any chance at all of getting this nomination."
Obama holds a lead of about 700,000 in the popular vote totals, not counting disputed contests in Michigan, where Clinton was the only major contender on the ballot, and Florida. Counting those states, which had their delegates stripped because their primaries were moved up prior to Feb. 5, Clinton would cut Obama’s popular vote lead roughly in half.