Monday, July 23, 2007

Betting on a change

By J. Kingston Pierce

As eight Democratic presidential candidates prepare for their first “official” televised debate tonight, this time from South Carolina and fielding questions submitted by the public via homemade video, there’s another bad omen for Republican’ts and another sure sign that Americans want their country to go in a different direction. The Wall Street Journal reports that

With more than a year to go before the 2008 elections, Democratic candidates have raised $100 million more in campaign contributions than Republicans, putting them on track to win the money race for the White House and Congress for the first time since the government began detailed accounting of campaign fund raising three decades ago.

Democrats have taken the lead by exploiting widespread disapproval of President Bush and the Iraq war to develop a more robust online network of new, small donors, as well as to gain traction with deep-pocketed business contributors.

If their fund-raising advantage continues--so far, Democrats have been pulling in about 58% of overall donations to federal-office seekers--they will have more resources for pricey advertising, organization building and voter outreach next November to buttress their edge in the polls. Moreover, Democrats’ focus on small donors leaves them room to raise more cash over the next year, since many contributors have yet to hit the legal limit of $2,300 per candidate per election, and could potentially keep giving.

The Journal adds that “So far in the 2008 campaign, Democratic candidates for the White House and Congress, along with the Democratic National Committee and other party committees, have raised a total of $388.8 million, compared with $287.3 million for Republicans, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. The figures include reports filed Friday by the House and Senate party committees for fund raising through June 30.

“Should that gap persist through the end of next year, it would be the first time in the 30-year history of the FEC that Democrats outraised Republicans overall in federal elections, says FEC spokesman Bob Biersack.”

READ MORE:Poll Shows Clinton with Solid Lead Among Democrats,” by Don Balz and Jon Cohen (The Washington Post); “Officially the First, Democrats’ Debate Feels Like Anything But,” by Anne E. Kornblut (The Washington Post).

(Cross-posted at Limbo.)

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