The appeals are out, the quarter coming to a close, and we’re seeing some signs that things might dramatically change in the Democratic field.
Now, first, the spin from the candidates, or their attempts at setting expectations.
1. Hillary Clinton – her spin is that she’s gonna match the $26 million she raised last quarter. Whether she means $26 million in primary money, or mixed primary/general money, she hasn’t said. I”m assuming the latter, and that she’ll beat the $26 million overall, a victory for her.
2. Barack Obama – His campaign has been a but mum. All the emails are about building a base of donaters, and how every small ammount helps because Obama is not taking money from special interests or lobby groups. But on the wires, his campaign is saying he has no chance of beating Hillary. Sounds pretty blunt. I expect him to outraise the $23.7 million, but if he doesn’t outraise Hillary, that is really going to continue to leech the momentum that has been draining out of his campaign since the Spring.
3. John Edwards – Here is where things get interesting. Edwards raised $14 million the first quarter, $5 million more than his top total in ’03, but far behind his fellow frontrunners. Remember that he raised a large portion of his money from fellow lawyers who had all reached the $2,300 maximum. His emails are calling for $9 million, as his a huge banner on his website, a huge drop from $14 million. I expect Edwards to report somewhere aroung $10 million. This may hurt him in the polls, but remember, he dropped off dramatically in Q2 in ’03. Edwards is a master at Iowa style retail politics, where money matters less than in other states, but this will hurt his campaign nationally and will only make Iowa more important for him, especially if what I’m predicting below happens.
4. Bill Richardson – Now running a clear 4th in the polls, Richardson was surprisingly strong in the first quarter, with $6.4 million, perhaps making use of his many connections he made during his long tenure in politics. Now the question is, can he create shockwaves and jump into the first tier by outraising Edwards? His campaign hasn’t been quiet, claiming loudly that they are going to beat Edwards. Now sitting at 7-10% in the latest Iowa Polls, can Richardson hit the magic $10 million mark, and join the first tier? I predict he will, and this news may be bigger than what happens at the top between Obama and Clinton, unless one of them has a clear victory.
5-8. The Others – I don’t forsee any big news from down here. Dodd will probably lead this crowd, though Biden may show some muscle after his vocal debate perfomances.
There is a debate on the 28th, and it will be interesting to see how all this plays out. Will Richardson get more time, finally? Will Edwards still be in the center with Obama and Clinton? And what will Gravel say?