Hillary Grabs Huge Lead in Third Quarter Fundraising

Third quarter FEC reports for 2008 presidential candidates are rolling in and Sen. Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) unveiled the biggest surprise of all this morning, announcing she has raised $27 million. The number crushes Sen. Barack Obama’s (Ill.) nearly $20 million.

According to Reuters, Clinton’s total included "$22 million for the primary race that begins in January and the rest for the general campaign ahead of the November 2008 election."

Only former Sen. Fred Thompson has officially reported numbers for the Republican front with a total of $8 million. This will be added to the $3 million he has raised since joining the race this summer. Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani (N.Y.) and former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.) are the expected to duke it out for the top spot. Romney led in the first two quarters with about $35 million while Giuliani trailed by about two million. Romney is projected to report about $10 million for this quarter. Typically fourth-ranked Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) has mustered predictions from some of around $5 million though recent reports have disclosed struggles with campaign finances.

Most lower-tier Republican candidates haven’t yet revealed their numbers though Rep. Tom Tancredo’s (Col.) camp has alluded to about $1.6 million. As for struggling Democrats, Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) announced he will accept public financing after his campaign. Many believe this is due to having only raised only about $7 million this quarter. Edwards will be required to adhere to strict fundraising restrictions. According to the Washington Post, “He now has $12 million in the bank and will be eligible soon for another $10 million in public funds, giving him about $22 million to get through the primary season.”

Gov. Bill Richardson (N.M.) and Sen. Chris Dodd (Conn.) have reportedly raised $5.2 and $1.5 million respectively while Sen. Joe Biden (Del.) is expected to show about $2 million.

Candidates are not required to disclose their totals until October 15 but ended fundraising efforts on September 30.