Hillary Clinton's furious fund-raising in the presidential campaign propelled her to the top of the cash ledger in 30 states during the past three months.
WASHINGTON - Hillary Clinton didn't just beat Barack Obama in the last quarter of the campaign money race - she completely turned the tables on him, grabbing broader support in most states.
Clinton's furious fund-raising in the presidential campaign propelled her to the top of the cash ledger in 30 states during the past three months, slashing deeply into the state-by-state buck-raking lead Obama built earlier this year.
She did it by crushing Obama in 13 states where he'd jumped to big early leads, a Daily News analysis of fund-raising records shows.
"The early money that Obama got was the easier money. He did an incredible job, but it gets harder and harder," said GOP strategist Ed Rollins. "Now there's the sense that it's going to be Hillary, and her machine is so much more established. People are starting to say, 'I better get my money in.'"
Analysts are dubious that raising money predicts primary wins, but they say it bolsters Clinton's image as efficient and unstoppable and buttresses the argument she can win anywhere.
"The polls are driving the money. People sense she's the one," added Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf.
Clinton and Obama have each raised just shy of $80 million, but until recently Clinton's has come from a much narrower base, with more than half - $41 million - drawn from just New York, California and the Washington area.
Obama has pulled in $26.9 million from the same places, plus just over $9 million from his home state of Illinois - meaning more of his campaign cash came from around the nation.
Obama still has the overall fund-raising lead in most states, but in their state-by-state battle in the third quarter - when pundits say most voters begin focusing on the race - Clinton rode her rising poll ratings to take the top prize in 30 states.
Clinton expanded her donor pool during the summer into states that previously favored Obama - like Iowa, Colorado and Connecticut - to beat his third-quarter cash haul, $27.3 million to $20.6 million.
Other early Obama states that flipped to Clinton in the latest quarter include Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Carolina - states many experts would consider tough for Clinton to win in a general election, but where party faithful are apparently now more willing to put their money on her.
It's all good news for Clinton, but her success has also pasted a bull's-eye on her back. She's become a virtual piñata for Republicans, who tee off on her daily, and the main focus for other Democrats, who are desperately trying to tear down her poll lead.