Third-quarter fundraising for the 2008 presidential candidates has wrapped up, and as money provides a good gauge for the continued viability of a candidate, some candidates need to consider hanging it up.Frankly, Congressman Duncan Hunter (R., Calif.) and Senators Joe Biden (D. Del.), Sam Brownback (R., Kan.), Christopher Dodd (D., Conn.), John McCain (R., Ariz.) and Tom Tancredo (R., Colo.) need to get back to work. The overall picture for the race proves positive for the Democrats as the top four Dems raised more than $50 million, but big questions remain for the top Republicans. However, the summer slowdown affected all of the campaigns except for Sen. Hillary Clinton (D., N.Y.), who led all candidates with a blowout quarter. Hillary Clinton's campaign has successfully commandeered the news cycle over the last few weeks with her health plan and appearances on the Sunday talking-heads shows. Some media elites seemed unsettled by the attention. The New York Times joined
Sen. Barack Obama (D., Ill.), who out-dueled Sen. Hillary Clinton for the lead in the second quarter, had a solid quarter with 93,000 new donors, $19 million for the primary and $1 million for the general election. He now totals 352,000 unique donors, an impressive number since that many donors can continue to fund his campaign. Former Senator John Edwards and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson have solidified their second-tier positions -- much to Edwards' chagrin.
Edwards last week chose to accept public financing and tallied the expected $7 million in the third quarter. Richardson raised $5.2 million. This was a good result for the governor, who can stay competitive through the primary season. As for the other Democrats, thanks for playing. Sen. Biden has succeeded in the Senate with his Iraq resolution, but reported a dismal $2 million in the third quarter. Sen. Dodd's anemic $1.5 million puts him in drop-out territory. No word has been heard from Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D., Ohio), and former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel is busy paying parking tickets on his Cadillac. It's time to say bye-bye to Dodd, Kucinich and Gravel. asserted that the GOP has lost its core support from business , which is irked over a lack of fiscal responsibility and the distraction of divisive social issues. It's not any better with Christian conservatives. Rumblings surfaced over the weekend from the likes of James Dobson (Focus on Family), Tony Perkins (Family Research Council) and Richard Viguerie (a legend in direct mail campaigns) about the religious right's threat to support a third party should the more socially liberal Rudy Giuliani gain the Republican nomination. Where o' where is the heir to Ronald Reagan?
The biggest question will be Rudy Giuliani's numbers. He lost one of his top fundraisers -- Anne Dunsmore -- in a power struggle right before the end of the quarter, which could be a bad sign.
Rumors have it Giuliani raised more than some but probably not as much as others. My guess would be he raised around $9 million to $10 million. This would put Giuliani ahead of former Sen. Fred Thompson. Thompson's camp released word the candidate had more than 70,000 donors and raised a little over $8 million. While the numbers might seem disappointing, it adds to a reported $3.6 million raised in July, and the campaign almost certainly has considerable cash on hand. Mitt Romney appears to be the winner in this cycle. His numbers are reported by insiders to be $10 million from supporters and another $6 million from his personal fortune. Romney has now contributed more than $17 million of his own money to his campaign. How much higher will he go? Estimates have put his personal fortune somewhere around $250 million. Sen. McCain, meanwhile, continues to disappoint. He raised $5 million this quarter and still carries about $2 million in debt. His campaign has mulled over accepting public financing. He received a dead-cat bounce in the polls recently, perhaps in response to President Bush's announcement of the Iraq "surge's" success. Lacking the money to spend on ads, I don't understand why the Senator continues to slog around the country to finish third or fourth.
The two other GOP candidates of interest are former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Texas Congressman Ron Paul. Huckabee has seen his poll numbers rise in Iowa and seems poised for a breakout. His camp has yet to prove they can raise cash. Ron Paul and his Internet hordes proved this last week that they could raise cash. His campaign set a goal of a million dollars over the last week and easily surpassed it with $1.2 million. His campaign continues counting but expects to surpass the surprising $2.4 million raised in the second quarter. I'm guessing numbers will be nonexistent for Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo. Sen. Sam Brownback will probably beat this pair, but I doubt he will raise enough to stay around for the Iowa caucuses. The summer separated the true contenders from the pretenders. I expect the bad numbers will force Brownback, Dodd, Hunter and Tancredo to go. Now the real primary game will begin.