GOP Frets Over Democratic Fundraising

GOP Frets Over Democratic Fundraising

WASHINGTON (AP) — For Republicans, watching Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama fight for supremacy in fundraising is not just a spectator sport. It is a look into the future, and the GOP isn’t cheering.

Obama and Clinton together raked in as much as seven times as much cash in February as John McCain, the all-but-certain Republican nominee.

The Democrats, particularly Obama, are also developing a broad base of fervent donors whose help goes beyond sending money.

Some Republicans are sounding alarms.

“Since the midterm election of 2006, Democrats have had an enthusiasm gap with Republicans,” said GOP strategist Scott Reed. “They have big crowds, raise more money and appear to have more excitement on the campaign trail. Couple this with turnout numbers, which are off the charts, and Republicans are going to have a big challenge in the fall.”

Obama raised $36 million in January. Clinton aides said she raised $35 million in February, and estimates for Obama place his haul for the month at more than $50 million. McCain, who raised about $12 million in January, is on a similar pace for February, according to his campaign.

Such a money advantage could mean that for the first time since post-Watergate campaign finance laws, a presidential candidate may forgo public financing for the general election. That would mean turning aside $85 million for September and October on the assumption that he or she could raise more.

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