Raking in Cash from Record Numbers
With less than a week left in the fundraising quarter, Sen. Barack Obama's campaign today peeled the curtain back just a sliver today to provide a glimpse of how the money hunt has been going.
In an e-mail to supporters, the campaign revealed that at this point 333,235 people have written checks to the campaign, a figure that suggests they have brought in at least an additional 75,000 new donors over the past three months.
That figure is smaller than those for the first two quarters, but is still a staggering one when compared to how other campaigns have traditionally done. In the first three months of this year, when campaigns had the most success drawing in new donors, Democratic front-runner Sen. Hillary Clinton took in money from 60,000 contributors.
What Obama's new donor figures say about the bottom-line dollar amount remains unclear. The large number of donors can be an important sign of grassroots support, but not necessarily a huge source of cash. Most of the 254,000 donors who accounted for the $59 million he raised over the first six months of 2007 gave less than $200. The larger contributions came from a smaller (but still hefty) subset of his supporters -- 34,318 people gave him more than $200. On the other hand, such a large number of small donors has left plenty of room for Obama to return to the same crowd and ask for more cash, something he has almost certainly done to some success over the summer.
The Obama e-mail that circulated today was not the first, nor will it be the last, that reminds supporters that there is less than a week left to contribute to each campaign's third-quarter fundraising totals. Fundraisers will do anything they can to create a high-pressure environment for donors.
The campaign of John Edwards sent its latest version of the last-moment appeal this morning as well. "With six days left until the end of the quarter, we're closing in on our goal of raising $1 million online by Sunday, September 30," the Edwards e-mail says. "Thousands of you have responded over the past three days--but your urgent support and that of your friends is needed today more than ever."
Campaigns will close out their books September 30, and formally report their results to the Federal Election Commission on Oct. 15.
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