In cash race, Democrats in big lead here

Posted: October 19, 2007

Through the first nine months of this year, more than 70 percent of the money raised in the Philadelphia area for presidential candidates has gone to Democrats.

The biggest beneficiary has been Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, who has harvested more than $1.5 million in donations.

On the Republican side, Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor, has raised nearly $825,000, more than all of his GOP rivals combined.

According to an Inquirer analysis of reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, residents of the eight-county Philadelphia area have donated at least $5.5 million to the various candidates through Sept. 30.

Of that amount, about $3.9 million has gone to Democratic candidates, $1.6 million to Republicans.

Nationwide, the Democratic candidates are out-raising the Republicans as a group by a ratio of slightly less than 3-2. But the differential is substantially larger here, a region that is more Democratic than the rest of the country.

Of all the Republican money raised in the eight-county region, 74 percent came from the Pennsylvania suburbs. But even there, Democrats out-raised Republicans by nearly 2-1.

The ratio is about the same in South Jersey, and almost 5-1 in the city of Philadelphia.

"Overall, it's an easier year than usual to raise money for Democrats because Democrats can smell victory in 2008," said Alan Kessler, a Center City lawyer and one of Clinton's top fund-raisers. "As for our campaign, there are certain pockets of the country that are exceptionally supportive of the Clintons. This is one of them."

"I'm not surprised that the Democrats are doing better than the Republicans," said lawyer David Girard-diCarlo, a Republican stalwart who has been raising money for Sen. John McCain of Arizona. "People have to be out of power to really want power. The desire to get in is always greater than the desire to stay."

Clinton, who has come to Philadelphia for several fund-raising events, has taken in at least $1,530,104 from the eight-county area.

Sen. Barack Obama (D., Ill.) is second in the regional standings with $1,121,412. But he leads Clinton and everyone else with 1,744 donors (compared with her 1,281). He is attracting more medium-sized and small donations, many of them over the Internet.

"A lot of these people are new to the process, people you've never heard of and I've never heard of," said Peter Buttenwieser, a nationally prominent Democratic giver and fund-raiser from Chestnut Hill who is backing Obama. "It's indicative of Barack's ability to bring all kinds of people together."

Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware is third among Democrats in regional fund-raising, reflecting his long-standing efforts on behalf of candidates and donors in Southeastern Pennsylvania.

Over the last three months, the 19103 zip code in Center City was Biden's second most productive zip code in the country, trailing only one in Wilmington. Some of Biden's local donors, including Gov. Rendell, gave to multiple candidates.

On the Republican side, Giuliani, who leads the area fund-raising competition with $824,861, is followed by McCain and Mitt Romney. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, has a fund-raiser scheduled for Devon on Wednesday.

Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, who entered the race last month, has raised $26,235 here.

Said Manny Stamatakis, Giuliani's finance cochair for Pennsylvania: "We've had less of a challenge raising money for Rudy than some of my counterparts with the other Republican candidates. We've seen lots of enthusiasm for him. . . . He's more in line with the majority of Americans. He's a moderate."

Giuliani is doing better raising money statewide in Pennsylvania and New Jersey than he is in the Philadelphia area alone. In New Jersey, he has raised more than $3.3 million, nearly as much as Clinton. In Pennsylvania, he's at $1.1 million, placing him a strong third behind Clinton and Obama.

Among communities, the largest donations came from Center City (zip code 19103), Villanova (19085) and Bryn Mawr (19010) in Pennsylvania, and Cherry Hill (08003) in New Jersey.

Regional giving is somewhat greater than the numbers indicate, because some donors don't list any zip code or they enter incorrect zip codes by mistake.

Nationally, Clinton has raised the most of any candidate, about $91 million, with $35 million on hand available for use during the primaries. Obama follows with more than $80 million, with $32 million on hand for the nomination fight.

On the Republican side, Romney, who has lent his campaign more than $17 million, has raised the most, $62 million, followed by Giuliani with $47 million.

The overall political giving in the Philadelphia area - defined as the counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware Montgomery and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania and Burlington, Camden and Gloucester in New Jersey - is a little below average by national standards.

Of the $416 million raised nationwide to date, about 1.3 percent has come from the eight-county area. That's less than the region's share of the nation's population.

Then again, neither Pennsylvania nor New Jersey has seen a tremendous amount of candidate activity.

Pennsylvania's primary is set for April 22, by which time it is widely expected that the nominees in both parties will have been selected.

The primary in New Jersey is earlier, Feb. 5. But the event may be overshadowed by larger states voting on the same day, including California, New York and Illinois.


Contact senior writer Larry Eichel at 215-854-2415 or leichel@phillynews.com.

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