The GOP money race

Republican candidates release latest fundraising numbers, without a lot to crow about.

Published February 1, 2008 2:45PM (EST)

A day after Sen. Barack Obama's campaign announced a single-month record for fundraising, a stunning $32 million, we've got all the numbers for candidates' finances from the last quarter of 2007. A couple of releases sent out by campaigns Thursday night were instructive about the fundraising divide still remaining between Democrats and Republicans.

First, there was an e-mail from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's campaign, trumpeting the news that "Romney for President totals over $27 million in total receipts for the fourth quarter." Now, that sounds pretty good, and in any other election it would have been, but keep in mind that Obama took in $5 million more than that just in January. (To be fair, given the actual action in primaries in January, we're not really comparing apples with apples here.) The number is also much less impressive once you get past the headline and discover who Romney's biggest contributor was -- namely, one Mitt Romney. In fact, of the $27 million Romney's campaign is claiming, $18 million came directly from Romney's own pocket; only $9 million was from actual contributions.

Then there's former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. His campaign did little to hide the fact that it wasn't exactly proud of its money totals; a statement from Huckabee reads, "My campaign filed our year-end 2007 FEC report in compliance with federal law -- and all of the details are available online." Telling reporters to go get the details themselves? Not a good sign. And neither is the expectations game Huckabee played after that: "A majority of my donors are a part of a grassroots army of concerned citizens from across America -- individuals who may have limited financial means but who care about this country deeply and are giving what they can to support my campaign." There was good reason for this rhetorical ploy. According to FEC filings, in his best quarter yet, Huckabee took in just $6.6 million.

Meanwhile, Arizona Sen. John McCain, the newly minted front-runner, pulled in $9.9 million. (His numbers were way up in January, though; aides have told reporters he raised $7 million in the first three weeks of the month.) All this means that, yes, Texas Rep. Ron Paul was the winner of the party's race for dollars for the quarter, with $19.5 million.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign has yet to release January fundraising totals, which suggests it won't be able to match Obama's. But Clinton did beat Obama for the last quarter of 2007.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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2008 Elections John Mccain R-ariz. Mike Huckabee Mitt Romney