So who won the over-hyped but important 1st quarter money drive?
According to news reports, the winner was Hillary Clinton who vacuumed up $26 million in contributions. Second was Mitt Romney who reported scoring almost $21 million. And Rudy was 3rd with $15 million.
So, Hillary won, right? Not so fast.
1st, Hillary has the advantage of Bill's formidable fund raising base at her disposal--and she's been lining up donors for her presidential run for over 6 years. Given the circumstances, she probably had to bury her opponents--which she did not. Additionally, her contributors numbered 50,000--impressive by normal standards, but not this year.
The concern for Clinton is that like her poll ratings, she may have already reached her potential. That is, expanding fund raising base for the primaries may be limited since most of the pro-Hillary people may have already been tapped.
Romney's $21 million looks impressive. However, Romney may be a better fund raiser than a politician since he's stick stuck in single digits in the polls. He's clearly tapped into a great deal of Mormon money--which is probably not a good barometer of his appeal or potential strength.
So whose results are truly impressive?
Senator Barack Obama's results are incredible. Wisely delaying for maximum impact, the campaign reported gifts totalling $25 million from 100,000 contributors.
While marginally less than Hillary's take, Obama's fund raising is all recent. What's more important is that Obama has a greater upside in fund raising potential because he starts with a larger base of support--most of which are not maxed out--but also because he's just starting and there are potentially many more contributors which his campaign has yet to solicit.
The runner up may be Rudy. He also got a late start--relatively to Hillary and McCain, that is--and yet he managed to raise quite a bit of money--including $10 million in March alone.
However, the biggest winners are the Democrats. Their candidates collectively raised $70 million to just $50 million by the Republicans--an incredible feat and a strong reflection of the public's desire for regime change.