Tonight marks the end of the first quarter. It also marks a critical date for candidates in the 2008 Presidential Election. After today, all candidates will have to submit reports the the FEC showing how much money they have raised. This will give Americans, particularly the ones interested in the election at this early stage, an idea of which candidates will best be able to attract the most money between now and convention time next summer. While you can’t buy a nomination, the ability to raise the most money will mean the ability to produce the most ads, and several other things that are directly related to winning.
We won’t officially know who has raised the most money until mid-April, reports are bound to leak out before that, each candidate will want to make a splash, as well as downplay (or exaggerate) the other candidates’ bank accounts (to set the bar higher than it should be). So, who will fly and who will flop? I am not sure yet, but The Hotline is putting Romney on top for the Republicans and Hillary on top for the Democrats. If indeed Hillary does win the “money primary”, that is no big suprise. Unfortunately for her, she cannot trump expectations, but can certainly fall short of them. Barack Obama has the opportunity to make waves if he tops Hillary, as does John Edawards, although I think we can say he will not. If The Hotline is correct, and Romney rakes in the most dough on the Republican side, it could generate a lot of good press, and force people to take notice. Once again, if Giuliani or McCain bring in the most money, it would be hard to exceed expectations, although falling short of goals or coming in in lower positions could certainly damage their campaigns.