April 23, 2008 / 8:22 PM / in 11 years

Clinton banks on big win to help raise needed cash

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrat Hillary Clinton’s victory in Pennsylvania did more than revive her White House hopes. It also helped replenish her coffers.

US Democratic presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) shakes hands as she campaigns at American Legion Mall in Indianapolis, Indiana, April 23, 2008. REUTERS/John Gress

The New York senator, who trails Illinois Sen. Barack Obama nationally in votes as well as cash, needed a big win to invigorate money-raising efforts that have trailed her better-funded rival.

So far, the victory is paying off.

Within hours of her triumph on Tuesday the campaign said it had raised $2.5 million. By midday on Wednesday that figure was up to $5 million, and campaign said it expected to have raised $10 million by the end of the day — which would be a record for the campaign.

Whether that will be enough is another question. Clinton’s campaign is riddled with debt and her cash on hand at the end of March was low, compared to Obama.

Campaign officials said the influx of funds would give her the resources needed to compete in the next round of contests.

“Thanks to the incredible generosity of our grass-roots supporters we are well on our way toward having the resources we need to compete in North Carolina and Indiana,” spokesman Jay Carson said.

“We expect Senator Obama to have a financial advantage,” he said, “but he also vastly outspent us in Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania,” all states won by Clinton.

Obama, who raised $42.8 million in March compared to Clinton’s $20.9 million, has been more successful in attracting new donors and people who give small amounts.

“I give him credit. He has a tremendous base of donors,” Clinton said of her rival on Tuesday before the polls closed.

But the Pennsylvania win appeared to be changing that dynamic somewhat. Carson said roughly 80 percent of the latest contributions to the former first lady’s campaign were from new donors, and her web site reflected that push.

“Thank you Pennsylvania,” the front page of Clinton’s web site said. “Keep the momentum going! Contribute $5 below.”

Linda Fowler, a government professor at Dartmouth College, said Clinton would ignore paying down her debt to focus on the contests in Indiana and North Carolina, where advertising would also be cheaper than in Pennsylvania.

“She needs to do well in Indiana to prove that Pennsylvania wasn’t just a fluke,” Fowler said. “So she’s got to spend it. She can’t pay off debt with it.”

Clinton’s campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, told reporters on Tuesday night that she would beat her March fundraising total in April.

The Obama campaign declined to release any fundraising figures on Wednesday but said it was well placed to compete.

“Every day, Americans from all walks of life continue to fuel our historic grass-roots campaign with all the resources we need to compete in the remaining contests and win this nomination,” spokesman Bill Burton said.

(Additional reporting by Andy Sullivan; editing by David Wiessler)

To read more about the U.S. political campaign, visit Reuters "Tales from the Trail: 2008" online at http:/blogs.reuters.com/trail08/

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