Davenport, Iowa With a stunning $25 million fundraising haul for his presidential campaign, Democrat Barack Obama affirmed his status Wednesday as Hillary Rodham Clinton's chief rival.
The freshman Illinois senator proved he could channel his appeal into significant financial muscle, and he dispelled, for now, questions about the durability of his anti-war, "hope"-driven candidacy.
Obama's total for the first three months of the year stopped just short of the record $26 million Clinton brought in. By any measure, it was an astonishing figure for a newcomer elected to the Senate just two years ago.
"It means we've got broad-based support, and I'm very proud of that," Obama told The Associated Press. "We're particularly proud that we were able to do this without any money from federal lobbyists or PACs."
Asked if the fundraising total puts the Democratic nomination in a two-way race between Clinton and himself, Obama said: "It's way too early. It indicates that people are really engaged and enthusiastic, and the crowds we've been attracting, I think, are indicative of a broad base of support across the country."
His campaign released additional details illustrating the breadth of Obama's support. He had 100,000 contributors in the first quarter, with more than half donating online for a total of $6.9 million. Clinton, by contrast, had about 50,000 contributors and raised $4.2 million online.
The campaign said at least $23.5 million of the $25 million total was available to be used in the highly competitive primary race. The Clinton campaign has yet to disclose how much of her $26 million can be used for the primary and how much was earmarked for the general election. Clinton also transferred $10 million from her Senate account, bringing her total campaign funds to $36 million.