Sometime in the next six weeks the first quarter fundraising totals of each of the candidates will become public. The momentum of a campaign can surge or deflate with the publication of these numbers. While Obama’s pledge to use public financing for a general election campaign still provides the American people with the best opportunity to pick a candidate, fundraising totals are still a useful metric for measuring the viability of candidates.
At this time 8 years ago it was Bush and Gore who had out raised their next nearest competitor two-to-one. 4 years ago it was Edwards and Kerry fundraising dollar for dollar with each other. Many were amazed at the time that Edwards was able to fundraise so effectively. The release of his fundraising totals was arguably the high watermark of his run to be at the top of the ’04 ticket. These totals will separate the pretenders from the contenders and Obama has begun to firmly entrenched himself as a powerful candidate.
At the star-studded event in Los Angeles last month Obama gathered over a million dollars. The high-priced New York event last weekend will likely produce pledges of over 2 million more dollars. The
Clinton’s ability to fundraise has long been a hallmark of their success. It points to both their successful past, and a widespread belief in their ability to be successful in the future. However, Obama has shown that he is more than just a rockstar or fresh face. Obama has made it clear he can gather support in a variety of ways, and from all walks of life. In six weeks we’ll see just how much momentum he has.