Now that all of the numbers are in, some thoughts:
–In terms of actual cash available, Giuliani leads the pack, but given that Romney has already ponied up over $17 million of his own money, it’s clear that both of them will have the cash they need leading up to Feb. 5.
–Fred Thompson is more of a question mark. Depending on who you talk to, his $8 million haul was either solid considering he was only in the race for a month, or lackluster for a candidacy built on the idea of there being a pent up demand for him. Money may or may not be a problem.
–With just $3.6 million in cash on hand, it’s hard to see how John McCain turns his recent spike in the polls, or even a strong showing in New Hampshire, into a nomination. His backers, I’m sure, would counter with the example of Kerry in 2004.
–With just $1 million raised this quarter, it’s time to drop any illusions of post-Ames media favorite Mike Huckabee being a top-tier candidate.
–Ron Paul’s $5 million haul means he will continue to make some noise, but as Jim noted, he doesn’t really steal votes from any top-tier Republican, so his actual impact on the outcome of the race will be minimal.
With all of that said, the big story once again is the disparity between Democratic and Republican fundraising. Much of the attention has focused on how Clinton/Obama more than doubled Rudy/Romney. But perhaps even more indicative of the extent of gap is that on the Democratic side, John Edwards was forced to accept public financing because he raised $7 million this quarter. And yet, that was almost as much as the amount raised by Thompson, the supposed Republican savior and still one of the frontrunners for the nomination.