Clinton on course to raise $35m

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Hillary Clinton’s advisers on Thursday said she was on course to raise $35m in February, the highest monthly total of her presidential campaign and more than double her total for January.

The announcement appeared designed to create an impression of renewed momentum behind the New York senator ahead of next week’s crucial primary elections in Ohio and Texas.

In response, advisers to Barack Obama, Mrs Clinton’s Democratic rival, announced that he had raised “considerably more” than $35m this month.

But the recovery in Mrs Clinton’s fundraising after a sluggish January highlighted the resilience of her campaign despite falling behind Mr Obama in the race for the nomination.

“It was incredibly gratifying to see people come forth with this vote of confidence in me,” Mrs Clinton said while campaigning in Ohio. “Obviously this is a tremendous benefit to my ­campaign.”

Mrs Clinton’s fundraising operation had appeared to be losing steam in January, when she collected just $14m, compared with Mr Obama’s $36m.

But the senator said her highly publicised decision to make a $5m personal loan to her campaign had ignited a fresh surge in donations. “People want this campaign to go on,” she said.

Many analysts believe Mrs Clinton needs to win in both Texas and Ohio to keep her campaign alive after 11 successive defeats to Mr Obama in recent nominating contests. Opinion polls give Mrs Clinton a narrow lead in Ohio, with Mr Obama edging ahead in Texas.

Terry McAuliffe, Mrs Clinton’s campaign chairman, said the recent surge in funds would allow her to remain competitive. “We have resources to play in big states coming up: Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont and states beyond,” he said.

Clinton officials said two-thirds of the 300,000 people who made donations over the past month were new donors, with most contributions made via the internet.

Despite Mrs Clinton’s rebound, Mr Obama is outspending her in Texas and Ohio, having so far spent at least $7.5m on advertising in the two states, compared with $4.6m by Mrs Clinton. Several large labour unions are also spending heavily on Mr Obama’s behalf.

The combined haul of at least $70m by Mr Obama and Mrs Clinton in February is about a third more than Mr McCain has raised during his entire campaign until the end of January – highlighting the big financial advantage held by the Democrats heading into November’s presidential election.

● Michael Bloomberg has ruled out an independent run for the US presidency, ending a two-year flirtation that raised the New York mayor’s international profile but lost plausibility as the primary season wore on.

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