WASHINGTON—Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama edged his way to a financial advantage over front-runner Hillary Clinton as both Democrats on Sunday reported amassing imposing campaign war chests of more than $30 million each for the presidential primaries.
With six months to go before the first votes are cast, Obama reported more than $34 million in cash available for the primary campaign, slightly more than the $33 million that the former first lady held on June 30, aides said.
Primary candidates can accept donations only up to $2,300 per contributor, but donors also are allowed to contribute the same amount to a general-election campaign. The Obama campaign has not aggressively sought general-election contributions, which in this phase of the election cycle typically come only from big-dollar contributors.
Obama and Clinton revealed their financial data a few hours before a midnight deadline on Sunday for presidential candidates to file detailed disclosures of campaign finances during the April through June quarter. Most of the major Republican candidates filed their reports Friday.
Fundraising is only one component in a presidential campaign. Other forces such as shifting public sentiments, the campaign message and a candidate's performance during an exhausting, pressure-filled contest also are crucial to the outcome. And past candidates such as Democrat Howard Dean in 2004 and Republican Phil Gramm in 1996 have lost primaries despite leading in fundraising the previous year.
In this year's Democratic contest, Clinton retains a considerable lead in national polls.
Still, Obama's fundraising has been a formidable achievement. He attracted more than 258,000 donors this year. During the second quarter, he received $32.9 million in contributions, at least $31 million for the primary campaign, according to Obama aides.
New York replaced Chicago as Obama's top fundraising city during the second quarter, with the Big Apple contributing at least $2 million to his total, as compared with $1.8 million for Chicago. Neither total includes contributions from suburban areas surrounding those cities.
Although Obama's financial advantage is slight, he now has more financial resources available for the primary than Clinton, who began the race with $10 million left over from her 2006 Senate re-election campaign and an established network of donors and fundraisers.
Clinton raised $27.1 million during the quarter, of which $21.5 million can be used for the primary.
But the New York senator kept tighter control of expenses, spending $12.5 million during the quarter compared with $16 million that Obama spent.
While Democrat John Edwards trailed far behind his party's front-runners, he maintained a solid third-place position in finances, reporting a campaign war chest of $12 million available for the primaries, up $2 million from the previous quarter.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who filed his disclosure a day early, reported $7.1 million.
Edwards received a surge of contributions following a June 26 dust-up with conservative talk-show host Ann Coulter, accounting for more than a quarter of his contributions over the three-month period.
Edwards' wife, Elizabeth, phoned in to a broadcast of MSNBC's "Hardball" for an on-air confrontation with Coulter, whose personal attacks on John Edwards have included describing him with a slur directed at homosexuals. The campaign featured the exchange in an e-mail fundraising appeal that began the same day.
The next day was the second-biggest fundraising day for the quarter, bringing in $368,000.
Two other Democrats who filed their disclosures on Sunday spent more on their campaigns than they received during the quarter.
Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) spent $4.4 million while raising only $3.3 million, finishing the quarter with $6.4 million in cash, $5.9 million available for the primary campaign.
Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) spent $2.5 million while raising $2.4 million. He reported $2.8 million in cash on hand, with $2.2 million for the primary.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) reported cash on hand of $3.2 million and $1.8 million in campaign debt.
Mike Dorning reported from Washington and John McCormick reported from Chicago