Obama Raises $6.9m Online in 1st Quarter

The Internet's growing influence on American politics is becoming more apparent this past week as data on first quarter fundraising numbers shows several candidates raking in millions in online donations.

Most recent of these announcements is that of Senator Barack Obama, who announced he had raised $25 million in the first quarter on Wednesday - a staggering $6.9 million of that coming from the Internet. He led all candidates in soliciting online contributions.

His online success alone nearly eclipsed the first quarter record for total contributions set in 1999 by Al Gore, who raised $8.9 million.

Obama's online campaign is very reminiscent of Howard Dean's 2004 presidential bid, widely considered by political watchers as the first to fully use the power of the Internet. The Senator's site also includes social networking features.

Other candidates are making progress in using the Internet to expand their donor base. Of the leading Democratic candidates, Hillary Rodham Clinton has raised $26 million, $4.2 million of it online; and John Edwards raised $14 million; $3.3 million online.

Although Republicans have been slower to promote online giving, all three major candidates -- Giuliani, Romney, and McCain -- actively solicit them. However, unlike the Democrats, none provided specifics on their Web successes in releasing their numbers.

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