WASHINGTON (CNN) — With a Saturday night deadline for second-quarter fundraising ahead, presidential candidates from both major parties are scrambling to rake in the cash before the clock runs out.
On Wednesday alone, five of the presidential hopefuls were out on the trail, attending campaign fundraising events.
Though the first votes of the 2008 campaign won’t be cast until January, early fundraising is a major indicator of candidate performance. And among the most closely watched contenders this time is John McCain, who placed third among GOP hopefuls in the first quarter.
So, how do things look for each candidate?
McCain, the senator from Arizona who’s mounting his second presidential bid, blamed himself for collecting a mere $12.5 million in the first three months of 2007.
But earlier this month he sounded an optimistic note.
“We’re doing better in fundraising this period, and we’ll be reporting some improvement,” he said during a June 11 appearance in California. But last week, he told The New York Times that his financial efforts have been “very tough,” adding, “We weren’t going to win this campaign on money anyway.”
Also fishing for campaign cash in New York City today is Mitt Romney.
The former Massachusetts Governor, who topped his Republican rivals with nearly $21 million in the first quarter, tried to talk down expectations for the current term at a fundraiser in Boston on Monday and said he would contribute money to his campaign from his personal assets — estimated to top $190 million.
“It would be nice not to have to loan or contribute to your campaign,” he said. “But the reality is, if you want to have a strong campaign that gets out there and can talk across the nation, you’re going to have to do what’s necessary.” On the Democratic side, the rivalry to watch is between Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the front-runner in the early polls, and Sen. Barack Obama — who beat former the first lady in collections for the primaries during the first quarter.
Clinton and Obama could both top $30 million, but they are really are in a race against each other.
That’s an impressive number which is why I continue to believe that the Democrats have picked their candidates. The Republican cash hasn’t been flowing so freely yet.
Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards is fundraising today in Texas. The 2004 Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee has said he doesn’t expect to match the $13 million he raked in last quarter.
Former Republican New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani faces his first full quarter as a presidential candidate, and he needs to show skeptics that his campaign operation is running on all cylinders. Realistically, he’s got to clear $15 million.
Thompson has only been raising money for a month and his initial take could be as high as $5 million or more.
Although some are estimating Thompson could double that to $10 million.
The biggest upset in this list is McCain whose been severely hard pressed lately to rake in the cash. Amnesty anyone?