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Clinton presidential campaign raises record $26 million
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New York Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has raised a record $26 million since announcing her presidential candidacy in what is shaping up as the most expensive race in history, her campaign said on Sunday as it sought to steal a jump on rivals.
Clinton, who entered the race in January, also transferred $10 million left over from her Senate re-election run. That made for a total $36 million in receipts for the three months to March 31, her staff said. That would be a record for the first-quarter of a non-election year.
The deadline to report quarterly campaign-finance figures to the Federal Election Commission is April 15, and candidates are jockeying to cast their fund-raising clout in the best light as an early test of their campaign's success.
Clinton's campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, said the preliminary figure far exceeded a goal $15 million in the January-March period.
"We are overwhelmed by the tremendous enthusiasm and historic response this campaign has received so far," said Doyle said. "Going forward we are poised to continue this success and make even more history."
Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards' campaign said he had raised more than $14 million. Deputy campaign manager Jonathan Prince said the Edwards camp was not at all concerned that Clinton had raised nearly twice as much.
"We are completely on track to have all the money we need to be highly competitive in the campaign," Prince said.
By comparison, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004, had $10.2 million in his campaign coffers by the end of the first quarter of 2003, the year before the 2004 elections, according to FEC figures.
Among other Democratic candidates in the 2008 race, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama was expected to report large fund-raising totals but his campaign said it would not release its numbers on Sunday.
Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware said on television his first quarter figure was "not nearly as much" as Clinton's. "I think we're going to talk about somewhere around $3 million for this quarter." Biden said on "Fox News Sunday."
Clinton's campaign said $6 million of the total had been raised from grassroots efforts, including $4.2 million on the Internet and $1.8 million from telemarketing. Campaign staffers said 50,000 donors from all 50 states gave money and 80 percent of the contributions were $100 or less.
Anthony Corrado, government professor at Colby College in Maine, said even though most contributions came in small amounts, large contributions probably accounted for the bulk of Clinton's funding.
"Having 50,000 donors at this stage of the campaign clearly shows the breadth of her fund-raising base," he said.
Edwards was probably buoyed in part by a surge in Internet donations after his wife Elizabeth announced the recurrence of her cancer, Corrado added.
He noted that President George W. Bush still holds the fund-raising record of $50 million in third quarter of 2003 when he did not even face a primary challenger.
(Additional reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky and JoAnne Allen)
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