Clinton has 35 million dollars for nominating race

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WASHINGTON, Oct 16 (Reuters) Hillary Clinton has 35 million dollars in the bank and top rival Barack Obama has 32 million dollars for the final months of a big-spending race for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, their campaigns reported.

Clinton, the New York senator who leads Democrats in national opinion polls, had another 15 million dollars in the bank to spend on a potential general election campaign if she gets the nomination, according to a report filed yesterday with the Federal Election Commission.

Her top rival Obama, an Illinois senator, had another 4 million dollars in general election funds in the bank as of September 30, his campaign said.

On the Republican side, Mitt Romney reported spending far more than his party rivals on the 2008 White House race in the last three months, pumping 21 million dollars into his bid to catch front-runner Rudy Giuliani.

Giuliani, a former New York mayor who leads Republicans in national opinion polls, spent about 13 million dollars on the race in the third financial quarter.

Giuliani led all Republican presidential candidates in cash on hand, with 16.6 million dolars in the bank at the end of September, the report said. Romney reported 9.2 million dollars in cash on hand.

Fred Thompson, a former Hollywood actor and Tennessee senator, spent about 5.7 million dollars after making a late entry in the race in June and had 7.1 million dollars in the bank for the stretch run, his report said.

All presidential campaigns had to file their quarterly financial reports with the FEC by last midnight.

KEY RACES The amount of cash the candidates have left will be crucial as they pay for staff and advertising in the run-up to voting in Iowa and New Hampshire. Those states go first in the state-by-state contest for the party nomination that starts in early January or possibly even December.

Clinton has opened a commanding lead over Obama and former North Carolina Sen John Edwards in opinion polls, although the three are running close in state polls in Iowa.

While Giuliani leads national polls over Thompson in the race to be the Republican nominee in the November 2008 election, Romney has been running ahead in the key early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Clinton raised nearly 28 million dollars in the third quarter including nearly 24 million dollars in primary funds. Obama raised about 20 million dollars for the primaries in the third quarter.

Giuliani narrowly led all Republican candidates in the money chase, raising about .6 million in the last quarter.

Romney, a wealthy former venture capitalist and former Massachusetts governor, was second with about 10 million dollars raised but loaned his campaign another 8 million dollars out of his own pocket.

Among Romney's expenses in the third quarter, traditionally the toughest period for fund-raising, was the Iowa straw poll in August.

Romney won the poll, an early test of strength for candidates, but top rivals Giuliani, Thompson and Arizona Sen John McCain did not participate.

Former Arkansas Gov Mike Huckabee, who had hoped to boost his finances with his surprise second-place finish in the Iowa straw poll, reported raising just 1 million dollars in the last three months.

He spent 819,000 dollars and had just 651,000 dollars in cash at the end of the quarter to pay for his final campaign push.

Kansas Sen Sam Brownback spent more than he raised during the quarter and ended September with 94,000 dollars in the bank. He brought in 925,000 dollars and spent nearly 1.3 million dollars, but campaign aides said he would be eligible for at least 2.1 million dollars in matching federal funds.

Reuters SS DB1034

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