Small donors give Obama fundraising lead

A barrage of small donations from grassroots supporters helped Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential hopeful, raise $32.5m in campaign funds over the past three months, outstripping Hillary Clinton, his biggest rival.

More than 154,000 people contributed to Mr Obama’s campaign, the largest number of donors recruited by a US presidential candidate at this stage in the election cycle. Mrs Clinton’s campaign had already conceded defeat to Mr Obama in the second-quarter fundraising race, announcing last week that it had raised about $27m (€20m, £13.5m) during the period.

The figures showed that Mr Obama’s campaign still has strong momentum at the grassroots level in spite of his failure to narrow the commanding lead held by Mrs Clinton in most polls.

Mrs Clinton’s campaign said it was relaxed about the fundraising gap. But the early financial strength of Mr Obama puts him on course to remain competitive against Mrs Clinton throughout next year’s primary election season.

Mr Obama’s success in building a fundraising operation within months of announcing his intention to run for president has stunned the Clinton campaign. While Mrs Clinton has focused on securing larger contributions from a smaller number of donors, Mr Obama has tapped a broader base of supporters attracted by his promise to bring political change to Washington.

“We now have hundreds of thousands of Americans who are ready to demand healthcare for all, energy independence, and an end to this war in Iraq,” said Mr Obama in a statement.

“That’s the kind of movement that can change the special interest-driven politics in Washington and transform our country.”

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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