WASHINGTON - More than doubling her January fundraising total, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's advisers said Thursday that she will raise $35 million in February, a figure rival Sen. Barack Obama's campaign said it would surpass.
The $35 million would be Clinton's biggest fundraising mark yet and represents a remarkable recovery for her campaign. Obama raised more than she did last month, $36 million to $14 million, and she was forced to lend her campaign $5 million.
"It was incredibly gratifying to see people come forth with this vote of confidence in me," Clinton told reporters in Hanging Rock, Ohio. "Obviously this is a tremendous benefit to my campaign."
Obama's campaign, reacting promptly to her campaign announcement, promised an even higher number but divulged no totals.
"We've raised considerably more than that," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said.
Obama told reporters on his campaign plane, "I have no idea how much money we've raised, but we've been paying our bills. Right now, I believe we're doing very good."
That would make February an astounding fundraising month for the Democrats. At that rate, both candidates would break records for contestants in a primary fight.
Clinton has been struggling to recover from weak fundraising in January, when she raised nearly $14 million to Obama's $36 million.
Clinton officials, including campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe, announced the totals in a conference call with contributors. The campaign announced that it had raised the money from 300,000 donors, including 200,000 new contributors, most of them donating through the Internet. Aides said almost all the money was for the primary election.
"We have resources to play in big states coming up: Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont and states beyond," McAuliffe said.
Despite her increased fundraising, Obama is still outspending her in the crucial March 4 primary states of Ohio and Texas. As of Tuesday, Obama had spent a total of $7.5 million in advertising in the two states. Clinton had spent $4.6 million.
Obama also was getting help from labor unions. The Service Employees International Union began spending $1.4 million on ads supporting Obama in Ohio and Texas. The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union was spending nearly $200,000 on ads in Ohio.
"We are facing a real wall of money from the Barack Obama campaign," senior adviser Harold Ickes acknowledged during the call. "But based on everything we know today, we are confident we have very strong operations there."
Clinton said reports of her relatively weak fundraising in January and her decision to lend the campaign $5 million started a wave.
"People want this campaign to go on," she said. "It just set off a chain reaction around the country. People start paying attention at different points in a campaign. Now people are engaged."