According to a recent filing with the Federal Election Commission, Sen. Clinton raised $21.4 million in 2005 for her re-election campaign and has $17 million in cash on hand.
Specifically, she collected $6 million from 56,899 donors in the final three months of 2005, and for the entire year she spent about $9.3 million, leaving her with $17,101,626. And Hillary has shown no signs whatsoever of slowing down, fundraising-wise, as she just returned from a lucrative rainmaking swing on the west coast. In contrast, her only viable Republican opposition, John Spencer, has raised just $571,000 and ended 2005 with only $243,000 cash on hand. Hillary’s nearly 100% name recognition and her friends in the mainstream media only make her even more unbeatable this November. If her fundraising continues at this pace, and there is no reason to believe it will slacken, the only question will be how little Sen. Clinton can spend in order to beat Spencer. Federal election law allows Hillary to transfer the leftover funds in her Senate campaign account directly to a presidential effort, so she could potentially start off the 2008 race with a minimum of $10-15 million already in the bank.
Previous New York Senate races cannot really be looked at to determine exactly what Hillary will do. She spent $29 on her successful 2000 run, but she was running against a relatively well-known candidate in Rick Lazio, in a presidential election year, and Lazio spent nearly $40 million against her in a losing effort. In 2004, Sen. Chuck Schumer spent $15.5 million in winning a state-record 71 percent of the vote against little-known Republican state Assemblyman Howard Mills, but her barely spent $500,000, and pundits generally agree that Schumer was willing to spend so much so needlessly simply to ensure a historic margin of victory.