Hillary Clinton really got the headlines she wanted with her first quarter fundraising numbers. The Washington Post reports Clinton Shatters Record for Fundraising. The New York Times says Clinton Campaign Shows Fund-Raising Edge.
Patrick Ruffini offers analysis that goes beyond just the overall numbers:
I was under the impression that this was a Big Dog & Terry production. If so, then I’m not entirely impressed. This number was on the low side of expectations, and she really needed to beat Barack Obama by more than $4 million. The headlines about Bill doing more than a dozen solo fundraisers didn’t help with the expectations game. Her cleaning out the Senate account to the tune of $10 million gives her some breathing room, but remember when people were whispering about her winding up with $40 million cash-on-hand from 2006? Senator Clinton has the deepest network of contacts in Democratic politics, a huge direct mail program, and a decent-sized email list from three campaigns. But, as Marc Ambinder notes, candidates with that kind of institutional support tend to peak in the first quarter. She also has the largest staff; watch her burn rate when the numbers come up on 4/15.
Further, the big weapon of the 2004 Presidential campaign - particularly on the Democratic side - was fundraising from the web. Hillary raised 'just' $4 million online in the first quarter. I have not yet seen the corresponding number from Obama, but Ruffini suggests that Edwards' online total was right in Hillary's 'ballpark.' By comparison, the Kerry campaign and the DNC raised in excess of $100 million online in the 2004 election. (And that ignores the millions raised by Howard Dean online in his failed primary campaign).
Despite Hillary's success, there remain millions of online donors for Obama and Edwards to plumb for cash, if Hillary cannot seal the deal.