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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 April 2007, 17:05 GMT 18:05 UK
Obama fundraising rivals Clinton
Barack Obama at a campaign event in New Hampshire, 2 April 2007
More than 100,000 donors are said to have contributed
Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama has raised at least $25m (12.6m) in the first quarter of fundraising for the 2008 race, his campaign team says.

The figure puts him on a par with rival Hillary Clinton - also seeking the Democratic nomination - who has raised $26m, a record-breaking amount.

Campaigners for Mr Obama said more than 100,000 people had contributed.

Both Republican and Democratic contenders are keen to show they can raise funds from a broad support base.

2007 FIRST QUARTER FUNDRAISING
Hillary Clinton - $26m
Barack Obama - $25m
Mitt Romney - $23m
Rudy Giuliani - $15m
John Edwards - $14m
John McCain - $12.5m
Figures reported by campaigns for the 2008 frontrunners

Analysts say Mr Obama's figures show the Illinois senator, a relative newcomer to the political scene, could be a real threat to Mrs Clinton.

At least $23.5m of the money raised so far will be eligible to be spent in the Democratic primary race early next year.

The primaries will decide which candidate runs for the White House, hoping to take back control after two terms of Republican President George W Bush.

"This overwhelming response, in only a few short weeks, shows the hunger for a different kind of politics in this country and a belief at the grassroots level that Barack Obama can bring out the best in America to solve our problems," his campaign finance head said.

Some $6.9m was raised over the internet, from 50,000 donors, his campaign organisers said.

'Success indicator'

Announcing her first quarter total on Sunday, Mrs Clinton's aides said 50,000 donors were recorded in all 50 states and that 80% of donations were for $100 or less.

Her $26m figure dwarfed the $8.9m raised by the former Vice President, Al Gore, at the same stage of the 2000 US election.

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton broke previous records for the same period
She has said she will also transfer $10m from unspent funds raised for her 2006 Senate campaign.

Fellow Democratic contender and former Senator John Edwards has raised some $14m.

In the Republican camp, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney leads the fundraising field with $23m raised so far this year.

He said the figure represented "the best indicator of future success".

He has been trailing in the polls to fellow Republican frontrunners Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York, and Arizona Senator John McCain.

Senator McCain has announced an overhaul of his fundraising operation after declaring a disappointing $12.5m for the first quarter of 2007.

Mr Giuliani said he was satisfied with his $15m total after making a late start compared to his rivals. Some $10m was raised in March alone.

All the potential candidates must report their first quarter totals - and the amount they have spent on campaigning over that period - to the US Federal Election Commission by 15 April.

Not all the campaign organisers have yet spelled out how the money raised so far will be divided between spending on the primary and general election races.

Money earmarked for the general election in November 2008 - should a contender become their party's presidential nominee - cannot be spent on campaigning for the primary.


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Barack Obama on the campaign trail



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