July 1, 2007 -- Democratic presidential contender John Edwards raised more than $9 million in the last three months to support his race for the White House in 2008.
Edwards had reached his goal a few hours before midnight yesterday, with the help of nearly 100,000 donations to his campaign.
Edwards' second quarter total likely places him a distant third in the money race, behind Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., who raised upwards of $32.5 million, and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., who is expected to raised $27 million.
Though Edwards raised $14 million in the first three months of 2007, the campaign is pleased to have raised $5 million less this quarter.
"The major focus of our efforts this quarter was to obviously bring the money and a keep us on budget, but also to really expand our donor base through a combination of Internet fundraising, through 'Small Change for Big Change' rallies, mail, telephones, all of that," said deputy campaign manager Jonathan Prince.
On top of reaching the campaign's fundraising goal and having nearly 100,000 donors, Prince contends, "it's been a great quarter for us."
But as good as it's been for Edwards, it's been three times better for Obama and Clinton. The Edwards campaign sees those individual successes as a win for all Democrats in the field.
"Sen. Obama's fundraising performance, Sen. Clinton's fundraising performance, Gov. Richardson's, ours, Democrats are clearly engaging the public, bringing in financial support, expanding the donor base," said Prince.
"We've got 100,000 donors, Sen. Obama's got over 200,000 donors -- it's fantastic. We're building the donor base that is going to elect a Democratic president of the United States and elect a nominee. We believe that nominee is going to be us -- and so were all the more excited about it for that reason. And I think it's been a great quarter for Democrats."
Only a few weeks ago, Edwards introduced "Small Change for Big Change," a series of grassroots fundraisers geared to attract small donations. The events have been held in major cities across the country, and have brought in 40,000 donors.
Last quarter, 80 percent of contributions to the campaign were for $100 or less. This quarter, those contributions have shrunk down to $50 less. But that makes senior advisor Joe Trippi happy.
"We've expanded the donor base sign and the amount contributed per contributor, yet we've lowered the averages, which again shows the 'Small Change for Big Change' approach that we took this quarter is really paying dividends and we hope will pay more dividends in future quarters."
And then there was Ann Coulter.
A war of words between the conservative critic and the ever outspoken Elizabeth Edwards gave the campaign an instant fundraising appeal right into the homestretch of the quarter. So did the controversy result in a boost in the campaign's bottom line?
"It's very hard to tell," said Trippi. "Obviously it was exciting, and obviously is certainly probably motivated some folks who planning on giving to maybe give a little earlier because it brought the campaign to their front of mind."
The campaign saw its best two days in the quarter last Monday and Tuesday, before the feud fully erupted in the media.
Despite having met second quarter fundraising goals, and being on track to have $40 million in the campaign coffers going into Iowa, critics question whether Edwards' position in fundraising tells more about his overall position in the race.
Last week, it was speculated that Gov. Bill Richardson, D-N.M., who's barely registering in most national polls, might top Edwards in second quarter fundraising. He came close, having raised $7 million this quarter.
Still, Edwards has now collected $23 million overall this year, while Richardson's haul for the first six months of 2007 stands at $14 million
When asked if the campaign was worried about Edwards losing his "top-tier" status, Prince shot back, "tiers-schmeers."
"I am very confident that we are in an excellent position to win this nomination and we have a plan to do it."