We won't get the official numbers for a few days, but on the Democratic side at least, presidential campaigns are beginning to informally release their first quarter fundraising totals, and as expected, the amounts are staggering.
According to Jerome Armstrong at MyDD, Clinton will lead the pack with $26 million in the quarter, followed by $21-22 million by Obama, $14 million by Edwards, $6 million by Richardson, $4 million by Dodd, and $3 million by Biden. The previous record for off-year fundraising in a quarter was $8.9 million by Al Gore, in 1999. And to place this in even sharper perspective, John Edwards turned heads four years ago with first-quarter fundraising of just over $7 million. Looks like he may double that haul this time around, while significantly trailing two other candidates, who will triple it.
There's less information available thus far on GOP fundraising, though the buzz is that Romney will do quite well, and McCain may (on the evidence of a last-minute fundraising appeal) fail to meet expectations. But one number that is interesting comes from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who says he raised about $500,000 in the quarter. Huckabee has consistently been rated as a viable darkhorse candidate by a lot of pundits in both parties. Yet he only raised a sixth of the cash brought in by Democrat Joe Biden, who has largely been written off by the commentariat.
This pattern suggests that the front-loaded primary schedule for 2008 may actually have a greater impact on the GOP field than on Democrats, despite some very serious vulnerabilities shared by GOP frontrunners Giuliani and McCain. Raising money a half-mil a quarter ain't going to get close to the price of admission to the early states, much less the massive Feb. 5 sweepstakes. --