Too close to call in race for H'wood cash

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Sen. Hillary Clinton might be leading the race for Democratic campaign cash, but she is far from Hollywood's darling, with the former first lady and rival Sen. Barack Obama neck and neck for entertainment industry cash.

According to an analysis of campaign contributions reported to the Federal Election Commission by the Center for Responsive Politics, the New Yorker's campaign had raised $2,141,609 from the movie, music and TV industries in the first nine months of 2007.

That total gave her a slight edge over Illinois' Obama, who drew $2,073,325 for the same period, according to the CRP analysis.

Both senators' totals greatly eclipsed the money given to any other candidate by entertainment industry executives and their close relatives. Former North Carolina senator and vice presidential nominee John Edwards raised $471,602.

Arizona Sen. John McCain was the highest-ranking Republican with $390,016 raised, edging former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who garnered $360,001, the CRP said.

Both Clinton and Obama have been the beneficiaries of high-profile fundraisers by show business notables.

Of the entertainment industry contributions, executives associated with National Amusements — the holding company controlled by Sumner Redstone — gave the most money to Clinton, forking over $192,185. Cablevision executives gave $129,513, while Time Warner execs contributed $125,870, according to CRP's analysis.

Obama also received $92,400 from Time Warner executives and $80,200 from people associated with Viacom, ranking those two companies in the top 20 for the Illinois senator.

Overall, Hollywood has contributed $6,402,746 to the presidential campaign in the first nine months.

This year's presidential race is shaping up to be the most expensive in history.

Clinton ended September with more money in the bank than did Obama, holding nearly $35 million cash on hand for the presidential primary contests to his $32 million.

Both were far ahead of Republican money leader Giuliani, who reported $11.6 million in the bank for the primaries.

Clinton, who had trailed Obama in overall fundraising and in money in the bank at the end of June, pushed past him with an aggressive third quarter of fundraising.

The New York senator, who also has been raising money for the general election, had a total of $50.5 million in the bank, her campaign reported. But nearly $16 million of that cannot be used for the primaries.

She reported raising $23.7 million for the primary and had operating expenses of $21.3 million. Obama spent a nearly identical amount, but he raised $19.3 million in the quarter. They each reported debts — Clinton owed $2.3 million and Obama $1.4 million.
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