WASHINGTON – Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton ended September with more money in the bank than rival Barack Obama, holding $35 million cash on hand for the presidential primary contests to his $32 million.
Both were far ahead of Republican money leader Rudy Giuliani, underscoring the financial disparity between the parties. Giuliani reported $11.6 million in the bank for the primaries.
Clinton, who had trailed Obama in fundraising and in money in the bank at the end of June, edged past him with an aggressive third quarter of fundraising.
Obama had not yet filed a detailed report of his third-quarter finances with the Federal Election Commission. The filing deadline was 11:59 p.m. EDT Monday.
Clinton, who also has been raising money for the general election, had a total of $50 million in the bank, her campaign said Monday night. But $15 million of that cannot be used for the primaries.
She reported spending $21.3 million from July to September, less than the $22 million she raised for the primary. Obama appeared to have spent an amount similar to the $20 million he has reported raising for the same period.
Among Republicans, Mitt Romney spent $21 million during the third quarter, more than twice what he raised during the period and more than what he spent in previous quarters, according to his FEC report.
The former Massachusetts governor, who has been tapping his personal wealth to supplement money from contributors, raised $9.8 million and lent his campaign $8.5 million over the summer. Giuliani reported spending $13 million during the same period, compared to the $10.2 million he raised for the primary campaign. Giuliani also raised about $1.3 million to spend on the general election if he wins the nomination.
Fred Thompson, who didn't officially enter the race until early September, reported spending $5.4 million during the quarter, more than half of it last month.
Thompson, whose report covers fundraising and spending since June, when he began exploring a presidential bid, raised $12.8 million during that four month-period. He reported $7.1 million in the bank at the end of September, as well as $678,000 in debts.
Romney reported $9.2 million cash in hand, thanks in large part to the $17.5 million he has funneled into his campaign since the beginning of the year. He has raised $45 million since January, but leads all Republican candidates with $52.8 million in spending for the year.
As a group Romney, Giuliani and Thompson enter the final stretch before the first nominating contests with money to spend on get-out-the-vote and advertising campaigns.
Giuliani led the Republican field in fundraising this summer, according to early estimates provided by the campaigns, though his July-September total fell from his high during April-June. It was the first time Giuliani's campaign spent more than it raised during a quarter.
Thompson, the former Tennessee senator and actor on NBC's "Law & Order," raised $9.3 million of his $12.8 million total during July-September.
Giuliani is the Republican front-runner nationally, but he lags behind Romney in the leadoff caucus state of Iowa. In New Hampshire, another important early voting state, polls show the race a virtual toss-up among Giuliani, Romney and John McCain. Thompson also is competitive with the top tier in state and national polls.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, considered a formidable campaigner but hindered by lack of money, reported raising $1 million during the summer, his best quarter so far. He had $650,000 cash on hand after spending nearly $820,000 in the quarter.
Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., raised $925,745 over the last three months, less than the $1.4 million his campaign brought in from April-June. Brownback spent $1.28 million and reported having just $94,653 in the bank.
According to Giuliani's report, the campaign spent more than $2 million on payroll and $1.3 million on travel from July-September, about as much as it had during the first six months of the year.
His campaign increased advertising this quarter, spending nearly $470,000 on radio and newspapers, including a full-page ad in The New York Times last month that criticized Clinton, the Democratic front-runner. Giuliani leads all candidates in radio advertising with more than 640 spots in several states, according to the Nielsen television ratings company.
Romney has spent much more on television, but radio is cheaper and can be targeted to specific audiences.
Romney spent nearly $6 million on television and radio commercials, bringing his total ad spending for the year to a whopping $12.7 million. So far, Romney has placed the most political ads on the air than any candidate, Democrat or Republican. The Nielsen Co., which also monitors advertising, reported Monday that Romney had placed 10,600 television ads from Jan. 1 to Oct. 10. Democrat Bill Richardson, the governor of New Mexico, was second with 5,800 television spots.
Both candidates, little known outside their states or national political circles, have used their ads to increase their name recognition, particularly in Iowa, the state scheduled to hold the first-in-the-nation caucuses in early January.
Obama ramped up his advertising toward the end of third quarter. He has placed more than 4,200 spots on television, practically all of it in Iowa. Clinton has placed nearly 2,200 spots, with more than 1,600 airing in Iowa. According to Nielsen, Clinton also has placed a small number of ads in other states, including New York, Tennessee, Louisiana and Arizona.
Thompson spent more than $740,000 on payroll, his biggest expense, followed by $730,000 on Internet services and consultants on the Web, a medium Thompson has used to communicate to supporters and potential voters.
For travel, Giuliani benefited from leased jets supplied by Elliott Asset Management, a firm controlled by Giuliani backer and fundraiser Paul Singer, a New York venture capitalist. Employees of Elliott Associates, a New York hedge fund founded by Singer, have given more than $120,000 to Giuliani's campaign.
Giuliani also is leasing a plane for the campaign, paying full charter fare. Among his other expenditures, Giuliani's campaign paid more than $131,000 for security services to his company, Giuliani Security and Safety.
Thompson also leased charter planes, spending $427,000 overall on travel. He paid $6,712 in travel costs to UST Inc., parent company of U.S. Smokeless Tobacco and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.
Planes supplied by corporate backers have helped candidates defray travel costs because they have been allowed to pay only first-class fare for the trips, a significant discount from the charter rate. New ethics rules passed by Congress, however, will now require all presidential candidates to pay full charter costs.