Hillary Fundraising Like a Presidential Contender

Ray Hernandez has a longish piece in today’s NYT on Hillary Clinton’s fundraising. The upshot is that, despite her insistence that she is not looking beyond her November re-election, she is acting very much like the 2008 frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. Which isn’t really surprising since, you know, she is the frontrunner.

Mrs. Clinton has embarked on a nationwide fund-raising spree herself, enabling her to collect cash while appearing before audiences outside New York. Democrats say her goal is to raise at least $40 million for her Senate race, money that could be used for a national run after this year’s Senate re-election bid, for which she faces minor opposition.

Already, the Clinton finance team has amassed more cash than any other potential Democratic presidential candidate, $17.1 million, underscoring what many Democrats say is the tactical edge that Mrs. Clinton has going into 2008, with an experienced and well-financed campaign.

That’s a pile of money, to be sure. Indeed, it may be more than all her rivals combined.

Then again, she is a sitting Senator from New York, a former First Lady, and highly connected. She is the odds-on favorite to win the nomination in her own right in 2008.

In recent months, Mrs. Clinton has embarked on a fund-raising sprint around the country that her advisers have tried to orchestrate largely below the radar. Typically, her fund-raising excursions outside New York have been done under the cover of other business, such as campaigning on behalf of other Democrats. There is almost no end to the number of invitations Mrs. Clinton receives to headline events for candidates.

Such is the life of a frontrunner in today’s big money era. The other evening, Joe Trippi predicted that, because of the relative ease of raking in piles of money via the Internet, all the serious candidates will opt out of matching funds to avoid spending caps. He’s almost surely correct.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.