US fundraising race hots up

Final first quarter fundraising results were expected to be filed by all candidates by midnight (1400 AEST) today, demonstrating the level of cash-raising prowess that is a key determining factor in campaign success.

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Early cash amount estimates through March 31 have already been released but the final disclosure statements reveal additional, critical details about the inner workings of a campaign, showing the number and type of donors.

They show how much money each donor gave, in an indication of whether a candidate is strong in institutional or grassroots support, or both.

Overall, Clinton raised $US26 million ($A31.4 million) in the first three months of the year, according to documents her campaign filed today, but $US6.9 million ($A8.3 million) is set aside for the general election and cannot be used unless she wins her party's nomination.

That means she raised less money for the primary election than her closest rival, Senator Barack Obama. Her cash on hand got a substantial boost from a $US10 million ($A12 million) transfer from her Senate campaign.

Earlier this month Obama reported raising $US23.5 million ($A28.4 million) for the primary.

John Edwards reported raising $US13 million ($A15.7 million) for the primary and was third in fundraising among leading Democrats.

Clinton spent $US5 million ($A6 million) during the first

quarter.

Clinton's campaign also reported $US1.6 million ($A1.9 million) in debts.

Edwards reported $US10.7 million ($A12.9 million) in the bank for his presidential campaign at the end of the quarter, a solid foundation as he tries to stay within reach of the party front-runners.

Senator Chris Dodd reported $US6.4 million ($A7.7 million) in cash on hand for the primary election. That money includes a transfer from his Senate campaign account of nearly $US5 million ($A6 million).

Meanwhile, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson showed surprising fundraising, considering a late start and a state legislative session occupied much of his time. He reported raising $US6.25 million ($A7.55 million), with $US5 million ($A6 million) cash on hand.

Senator Joe Biden ended the quarter with a balance of $US2.8 million ($A3.4 million).

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