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Thursday, February 08, 2007
Democratic presidential sidelines flush with cash
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Had they decided to run for president, Sens. Evan Bayh of Indiana and John Kerry of Massachusetts would have found themselves near the top of the Democratic field in terms of early available cash, thanks to warchests they had accumulated from previous campaigns.

According to reports filed recently with the Federal Election Commission, Bayh started the year with almost $11 million in his U.S. Senate campaign account, roughly the same amount fundraising heavyweight Sen. Hillary Clinton had remaining in her Senate account after her 2006 New York re-election bid. Federal law allows candidates to transfer an unlimited amount of funds from a Senate or House account to a presidential campaign.

Kerry had a combined $7.4 million at the start of the year saved away in both his 2004 presidential primary account as well as his Senate campaign account. The Massachusetts Democrat and former Democratic presidential nominee also has $5 million saved away in a special account reserved for legal and accounting costs related to his 2004 general election campaign. Federal law is not clear as to how much of this amount could be used for a future bid for federal office, or in what capacity the funds could be spent.

Another Senate Democrat who ruled out a 2008 White House bid, Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, reported having $1.5 million in his Senate account at the start of the year.

The Ticker reported last week that Clinton lead the Democratic presidential field in early available cash, more than doubling the $4.9 million that Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd had saved in his Senate account at the start of 2007. Delaware Sen. Joe Biden had $3.6 million in cash in his Senate campaign, while Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois had about $516,000.

Bayh announced in December that he would not mount a White House bid, just days after creating a presidential exploratory committee. Kerry announced last month he would not seek the presidency a second time.

The next presidential fundraising milestone will be in April, when candidates will report their fundraising activity from the first three months of the year.

-- CNN Political Research Director Robert Yoon
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