Well, I guess it should be no surprise that the story of week has to be the junior senator of Illinois. Senator Obama hits the top headlines with his major announcement on first quarter fundraising.
New records in fundraising for the presidential campaign were set this past week that seems to blow everyone away. Hillary and Barack have stunned the experts raising $26 and $25 million respectively in the first quarter. Now for me the fact that Hillary is leading all candidates doesn't surprise me. The amount does but her position does not. The surprise to most everyone is that Obama shocked the political world with his fabulous totals. $25 million raised, almost $7 on line and 100,000 donors. Obama out performed Clinton with the internet numbers and doubled her number of donors.
Donors for Hillary probably are going to be similar to Bill's donor list. No big deal. The Clinton machine is known for the big numbers in money raised. But Obama tapping 100,000 donors? That is huge. Here is a guy that 99% of the country had not heard of before the Democratic Convention in 2004 and he has 100,000 donors for the #1 job in the land less than 3 years later. I can't help but hear the excitement growing day by day.
To show how big these numbers are, think about this. The next four candidates for the democratic nomination added together barely got to Obama's total. Edwards, Dodd, Richardson and Biden mustered a cool $26 million, with $15 of that being Edwards'. You have to find the idea of this amount of money a little interesting, when you consider that it has been many democrats pushing for the campaign spending caps and matching funds in year's past. Now it's no limit and forget the matching funds.
At this rate, there could be over a quarter of billion dollars raised before the first caucus. Is there a limit to what will be done? Sure there is and the first quarter has gotten a huge push by the campaigns as a show of strength. The totals won't reach those numbers but don't be surprised if the Democratic field hit $150 million by years end.
But back to Barack. This total has taken him from a flash in the pan novelty to a player with the big boys and girl. And it does make him a force to reckon with over the next year. Earlier this year, the talk seemed to be that Obama was a nice guy but VP was the best he could hope for. Now, it seems as though this fellow will play second fiddle to no one.
Even though there is more to winning the nomination than money, this could be the bump he needs to become a major player. Star power plus money is a combination that could be tough to beat for 2008.
And if that's the case, it could be "Barack to the future" for the country.