Clinton leads 2008 money chase with 27 million dollars

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WASHINGTON, Oct 2 (Reuters) Democrat Hillary Clinton raised 27 million dollars for her 2008 presidential bid in the third quarter, leading all rivals and strengthening her position ahead of the field three months before the first votes.

Clinton's campaign today reported raising 22 million dollar for the primary nomination race that begins in January and another 5 million dollar for the general campaign ahead of the November 2008 election.

Her fundraising beat top rival Barack Obama, the first-term Illinois senator who raised 19 million dollar in primary money and another 1 million dollar in general election funds in the quarter that ended on Sunday.

The strong performance defied historical trends for the third quarter, when presidential candidates typically raise less money as they compete for attention with summer vacations.

''Hillary wanted you to know that this was our best quarter yet,'' her campaign manager, Patty Solis Doyle, said in an e-mail to supporters. ''This is the moment when your dedication defied the skeptics.'' Clinton, the New York senator and former first lady, has taken a big lead in recent months over her Democratic rivals in national opinion polls and solidified her grip on the frontrunner's slot in the 2008 race.

But Obama has shown his own signs of strength, raising more money than Clinton in the second financial quarter and building a list of more than 350,000 donors. The Clinton campaign reported adding 100,000 new donors during the quarter.

Obama nearly matched Clinton in primary fundraising in the third quarter, a spokesman said. He criticized Clinton's refusal to stop taking money from federal lobbyists.

''We have raised a historic 74.9 million dollar in dollars available for primary spending, without transferring one cent from any other campaign fund and with no money from federal lobbyists or PACs,'' Obama spokesman Bill Burton said.

Candidates for president must report their fund-raising activity every three months. The third quarter ended at midnight on Sunday, and detailed financial reports must be submitted to the Federal Election Commission by October 15.

Those reports will offer detailed breakdowns on the spending and savings rates of each campaign and how much cash they have left for the final three-month push to the first votes in Iowa in early January.

The Clinton campaign did not say how much money it had in the bank at the end of September.

Donors can give up to 2,300 dollar to finance the primary race and another 2,300 dollar for the general election if the candidate gets the nomination.

Clinton and Obama's other rivals for the Democratic nomination have reported much lower third-quarter fundraising totals, led by 2004 vice presidential nominee John Edwards, who took in 7 million dollar.

No Republicans have reported their third-quarter fundraising yet.

REUTERS RS MIR KP2038

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