Fund Raising Totals May Signal Changes Among Upper Tier Candidates

Obama’s lead over Hillary Clinton in fund raising was even greater than many would have guessed Friday when Clinton’s campaign signaled defeat. Barack Obama raised $31 million for the primary campaign and an additional $1.5 million for the general election. In contrast, Clinton raised about $21 million for the primaries, with approximately $6 million more for the general election.

The fund raising totals further contributed to suspicions that John Edwards’ campaign is having serious difficulties, while Bill Richardson is on the up swing. Edwards raised only $9 million during the second quarter, with Richardson coming in close with over $7 million.

Update: Posting has been briefer (and often limited to links) while I’ve been on vacation, but there is a question in the comments which I would have normally have addressed in the post regarding why I consider the numbers to be bad for Edwards (even though he met his target) and good for Richardson.

The target levels are largely spin from the campaigns. Edwards has been considered a top tier candidate for quite a while, but the last few weeks the “conventional wisdom” (which may or may not have any validity) was that Edwards’ campaign was floundering. There have been predictions that Obama and Clinton would surpass him in Iowa, and without a lead in Iowa there would be nothing left of Edwards’ campaign.

Edwards may have met his target, but his target was extremetly low. It doesn’t say much for him that his target was so low below the target for Obama and Clinton. Obviously it is still early and much can be change, but at the moment barely beating Richardson makes Edwards look as if he’s not doing well.

For Richardson it’s all about momentum. He’s been in a distant fourth place or below since the start of the campaign. Recently he’s moved up in both the Iowa and New Hampshire polls, and now has come quite close to Edwards in fund raising. For someone with no expectations of doing anything, that is quite good. People who have previously ignored Richardson might now pay attentionand his press coverage should improve.

This still leaves Richardson in fourth place with little chance of winning, and may be irrelevant that he’s moved from obscurity to Edwards’ levels as that is still a long way from being competitive with Clinton and Obama. Still, it does give him a chance if Clinton and Obama should both run into trouble. We have seen candidates such as Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter come from obscurity to win. I doubt that will happen this year, but if it does someone like Richardson who is showing signs of improvement in his campaign has a better chance than people like Dodd, Biden. Gravel, or Kucinich who are not showing such progress.

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5 Comments

  1. 1
    Rick says:

    I think many people expected Obama to out raise Clinton. I said so on my blog and I expected him to come in with over $30 million… but I clicked on this article thinking I was going to get a nice neat little analysis… where is it?

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    I’m off on vacation and there will probably only be brief posts and links this week when I’m around a compuer. There is more on the fund raising in Friday’s post which I linked to.

  3. 3
    Shaun says:

    I don’t get it, Doc. How is Edwards hitting his publically announced target while Richardson, whose campaign boasted they’d out raise Edwards, falls over 20% short of the mark a sign of trouble in the Edwards camp, or of unusual success for Richardson? That’s some pretty serious spin…

  4. 4
    Anonymous says:

    I consider raising a large ammount of money a negative. The person becomes more indebted to the donors. Unless those donors are the people and not corporates with interests that conflict with the people’s best interest then that money is a BAD thing.

  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:

    Shaun,

    The “spin” is the target levels. Edwards has been considered a top tier candidate for quite a while, but the last few weeks the “conventional wisdom” (which may or may not have any validity) was that Edwards’ campaign was floundering. There have been predictions that Obama and Clinton would surpass him in Iowa and there would be nothing left of his campaign.

    Edwards may have met his target, but his target was extremetly low. It doesn’t say much for him that his target was so low below the target for Obama and Clinton.

    As for Richardson, it’s all about momentum. He’s been in a distant 4th place. Recently he’s moved up in both the Iowa and New Hampshire polls, and now has come quite close to Edwards in fund raising. For someone with no expectations of doing anything, that is quite good. People who have previously ignored Richardson might now pay attention. His press coverage should improve.

    This still leaves Richardson in 4th place with little chance of winning, and may be irrelevant that he’s moved from obscurity to Edwards’ levels as that is still a long way from being competitive with Clinton and Obama. Still, it does give him a chance if Clinton and Obama should both run into trouble.

    Anonymous,

    Regardless of whether it is a good thing, it is necessary to raise money to be compteitive. Fund raising is also a major criteria used by the media to determine who is worth following. The fund raising rules do obscure whether the money is coming from individuals or special interests. In theory it all comes from small donors due to limitations. In reality we know that some people and organizations can do more to bundle all those small contributions into something which gives influence.

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