April 24, 2008 in Nation/World

Pennsylvania win boosts Clinton’s fundraising

Ken Dilanian USA Today

WASHINGTON – Winning in Pennsylvania has been good for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s flagging finances.

Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said Wednesday that the campaign was on track to raise $10 million through the Internet in the 24 hours since the candidate appealed for money in her victory speech Tuesday night. That would more than double her cash on hand.

Clinton fundraisers said they are seeing a new wave of interest from people wanting to help.

“My phone has been ringing off the hook,” said Patricia Edington, an Alabama antiques appraiser and “Hillraiser,” as Clinton calls those who pledge to collect $100,000 or more. “It was sort of drying up in south Alabama. I had turned over lots of rocks down here. But people have been calling this morning.”

As Clinton and Barack Obama shifted their attention to the May 6 primaries in Indiana and North Carolina, Clinton supporters said the money influx proves Democrats are not dissuaded by arguments that she cannot catch up to Obama’s delegate lead. The campaign said it had gotten money from 50,000 first-time donors as of noon.

“I don’t think the tide is turning, I think the tide has turned,” New York Gov. David Paterson, a Democrat, said in a conference call with reporters.

The Obama campaign declined to disclose its fundraising total for Wednesday.

In a CNN interview, Obama argued that Pennsylvania has an outsized proportion of older voters, a group that tends to favor Clinton. “If we had a demographic problem in Pennsylvania, it was that it’s an older state than a lot of states,” he said.

Clinton cited the win as evidence of her electability. “I think the coalition that I’ve put together, as demonstrated once again last night, is a very strong base for us to beat Sen. McCain,” she said on NBC’s “Today” show.

Clinton fundraisers said they learned an important lesson from her string of wins in Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania: It’s OK to be outspent, as long as they have enough to get out her message.

Obama has transformed presidential fundraising, raking in huge sums in small amounts from a broad base of donors. Until February, Clinton relied on a more traditional fundraising operation focused on wealthy people contributing close to the maximum of $2,300 per person for the nomination contest.

Obama’s financial advantage is huge and likely to remain so. The latest campaign finance disclosures show that at the end of March, the Clinton campaign had just over $9 million in the bank and $10 million in debt. Obama had more than $40 million cash on hand at the same time. Obama reported spending more than $11 million on television in Pennsylvania, compared with less than $5 million by Clinton.

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