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Who's doing well in that other race--for $$?

July 8, 2007 |  6:12 pm

Money isn't everything in politics. Witness, Steve Forbes and what's-his-name Gramm from Texas, who had tons of it and won little.

But money does enable candidates to air more ads, travel more place and have more organizers. Successful political fundraising seems to spawn even more giving--and vice versa both ways. And, as The Times' Mark Barabak and Dan Morain point out in their comprehensive story tonight, the presidential race for money is already sorting itself out, even at this early stage, into the have-alots and the have-a-whole-lot-lesses.

BarackIn the Democratic field there's the new guy Barack Obama with the team of upstarts and the old warrior Hillary Clinton with the tested political machine. Between them, they've raised in excess of $110 million, more than all the other Democrats combined, and both remain on track to get $100 million each by year's end.

For the Republicans, Rudy Giuliani has $18 million in the bank and Mitt Romney raises well and seems to supplement that with unlimited funds from his personal checkbook. More numbers should come out this coming week.

Everyone else on both sides is essentially looking for leftovers.

Most shocking is John McCain, the onetime GOP frontrunner, who's raised poorly, reorganized often and is still cutting staff. He's essentially confined now to...

competing only in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, hoping that good things will happen there and sling him onward. Four years ago John Kerry put all his eggs in the Iowa basket and it worked. But McCain now has less money in the bank than libertarian also-ran Ron Paul, whose followers may be few but fervent.

On-the-ground organizers are particularly important in Iowa where personal contact counts for so much in the caucuses. But even in the relatively inexpensive TV markets of Iowa, advertising can set you back $1.5 million, which is a lot of $25 donations.

Early ballot successes are particularly important next winter because they are so closely followed by mega-Tuesday Feb. 5, leaving much less time to take financial advantage of any voting successes.

Money success is already allowing Giuliani, Obama and Clinton to start serious operations in the Feb. 5 states.

The story by Barabak and Morain can be found by going to The Times' Campaign 08 page or clicking here. It will also be in Monday's print editions.

--Andrew Malcolm

Photo: Sen. Barack Obama; Credit: Matthew Cavanaugh/EPA