Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Obama Built Donor Network From Roots Up

Kudos to Obama and his team for building a top-flight fundraising operation!
Obama Built Donor Network From Roots Up
Published: April 3, 2007

CHICAGO — When Barack Obama announced to friends over brunch in 2002 that he planned to run for the United States Senate, one of their first questions was how he could possibly raise the necessary millions.

After all, two and a half years after he had taken quite a “spanking,” as he put it, in his bid to unseat an incumbent congressman, he was still struggling to pay off a $20,000 debt, eking out donations of $1,000 here, $2,000 there.

Improbably, Mr. Obama, running as something of an outsider, wound up raising $15 million and winning that 2004 Senate race. Now that he is running for president, his fund-raising prowess has helped make him the chief rival to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.

[Aides said Monday that he had collected more than $20 million in donations in the first three months of the campaign, enough to ratchet up the anxiety in the Clinton camp, which announced it had raised $26 million. Mr. Obama’s campaign has yet to release precise information on its total donations or contributors.]

A look at his 2004 Senate race shows how he laid the foundation for his current fund-raising drive. Even as he cultivated an image as an unconventional candidate devoted to the people, not the establishment, he systematically built a sophisticated, and in many ways quite conventional, money machine.


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