Pundits forecasting our nation's first billion dollar election may have to raise their estimates.
After a first quarter that left his rivals flush with cash, Senator Barack Obama is widely expected to release his first quarter fundraising results Wednesday. Speculation runs rampant that he will equal or top the $26 million reported by Hillary Clinton.
Clinton's record-breaking figure, further beefed up by a $10 million transfer from her Senate campaign fund, is a massive war chest, yet many believe that Barack Obama's community-based fundraising will put him in a position to meet or top Clinton's funding. Regardless of whether he ends up the top fundraiser, he leads his rivals in number of individual contributors with more than 82,000 donors and counting. These numbers suggest a widespread and growing base of support in these early weeks.
As candidates have scrambled for cash, Senator Obama has distinguished himself by offering thousands of young Americans the chance to participate in events with tickets priced as low as $25, a grassroots effort in sharp contrast to other candidates who may charge hundreds of dollars per event.
While other campaigns flaunted their fresh funding, the Obama campaign distinguished itself by holding back a few days, continuing to give the public its message of change and hope, rather than rush to deliver the press a bank statement.
Meanwhile, Senator Clinton, sitting atop $36 million in cash, continues to advocate for publicly financed federal campaigns.
"I believe we have to move, eventually in our country, toward a system of public financing that really works for candidates running for federal office. I will support that as president," she said recently.
How generous of you, Senator Clinton.