(From the SF Chronicle)
Presidential hopeful Barack Obama has raised $25 million in the first quarter of 2007, bolstered by an innovative Internet campaign that has helped him expand his appeal to a wider base of donors than his Democratic presidential rivals.
The Illinois senator's fundraising between Jan. 1 and March 31 brought in nearly as much as the $26 million raised by Democratic front-runner Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York. But his base of 100,000 supporters surpasses the combined donors of Clinton, with a reported 50,000, and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, whose campaign announced he had raised $14 million from 40,000 donors.
Though the Obama campaign has not released official numbers, sources close to the campaign say the senator raised considerable cash in California -- as much as $1.2 million in the Bay Area and surrounding counties, $2 million in Southern California and another $300,000 elsewhere in the state for a total of about $3.5 million during the first three months of 2007.
Official campaign finance reports are not due to be filed with the Federal Election Commission until April 15. Many of the other candidates released their overall fundraising amounts earlier this week. Obama's campaign released its numbers on Wednesday.
Leading Silicon Valley insiders noted that Obama raised nearly $7 million on the Internet thanks to an aggressive effort involving bloggers, social networking and other activities that far outpaced the endeavors of other leading Democratic candidates. It includes 4,000 My.BarackObama.com groups, 9,000 Obama bloggers and 50,000 online donors.
Experts say Obama's strategy in California, the ATM of political fundraising, helped make him a surprising contender in the first-quarter "money primary,'' a crucial measure of strength and viability in the early presidential race.