With more than a year to go before the 2008 elections, U.S. Democratic candidates have raised 100 million U.S. dollars more in campaign contributions than Republicans, putting them on track to win the money race for the White House and Congress, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
So far in the 2008 campaign, Democratic candidates for the White House and Congress, along with the Democratic National Committee and other party committees, have raised a total of 388.8 million dollars, compared with 287.3 million dollars for Republicans, the newspaper said, citing reports filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
The figures include reports filed last Friday by the House and Senate party committees for fund raising through June 30.
Should the gap persist through the end of next year, it would be the first time in the 30-year history of the FEC that Democrats outraised Republicans overall in federal elections, FEC spokesman Bob Biersack was quoted as saying.
The disparity is particularly sharp in the presidential race, where the eight Democratic presidential candidates raised 179.3 million dollars through June 30, compared with 118 million dollars for the nine declared Republican candidates.
Democrats have taken the lead by exploiting widespread disapproval of President George W. Bush and the Iraq war to develop a more robust online network of new, small donors, as well as to gain traction with deep-pocketed business contributors, the Journal report said.
Bush's low popularity is energizing the Democratic base and damping morale among Republican voters and donors. That could create a situation in which a growing perception of the Democrats' chances for success next year encourages special interests to give them more money, in hopes of wining influence with those expected to be in power.
Democrats have benefited because of their comparative strength with Internet activities. While Republican voters tend to gravitate toward traditional media like talk radio, Democratic voters with strong opinions are more likely to go online to read blog. That in turn, has led to an explosion in online giving to Democrats.
Among presidential candidates, Democratic Senator Barack Obama of Illinois is the online star, raising 17 million dollars, or 29 percent, of his donations this year over the Web. Combined, the three leading Democratic presidential candidates -- Obama, Senator Hillary Clinton of New York and former North Carolina senator John Edwards -- have raised more than 28 million dollars online through June 30.
The top three Republican candidates -- former New York mayor Rudy Guiliani, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Arizona Senator John McCain -- raised 9.4 million dollars online.
In addition to online fund raising, Democrats are also gaining among large donors, often with business and regulatory interests that make it important for them to be on the winning side, the report said.