From CBS News' Fernando Suarez
NEW YORK – While the polls say the race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is extremely tight, there's one contest Obama is running away with – the money primary.
With the potential for the nomination to drag on into the Democratic National Convention in late August, candidates continue to scramble to beef up their campaign coffers, but fewer online donations has forced Clinton off the campaign trail to fundraise in person.
Today, Clinton and her daughter Chelsea will host a low dollar fundraiser in Washington, D.C. The joint fundraiser, aimed at donors who have not already maxed out primary contributions, has tickets ranging in price from $25 to as high as $500. In an e-mail to supporters, the campaign asks donors who have maxed out the $2,300 in primary contributions, to help raise up to $250 from friends.
Part of Clinton's fundraising woes is that many of her key donors have already donated the maximum amount allowed by law, forcing the former first lady to look for new donors, as well as target younger voters through low dollar events, like tonight.
And despite increases in her online contributions, Clinton's online effort pales in comparison to Obama's, who in February out-raised Clinton over the internet by upwards of $30 million, causing Clinton to spend crucial time fundraising on the road, rather than campaigning.
Last night, after one campaign event in Pennsylvania, Clinton had to return to New York in order to attend a private fundraiser at the home of a supporter in Greenwich, Conn. Next week, Clinton is scheduled to attend fundraisers on the west coast, primarily in California, a February 5th state she won by double digits, while Obama is wrapping up a six day bus tour of Pennsylvania, the next big contest in the nomination process.
Clinton is expected to do some campaigning in Oregon and Montana, two states with upcoming primaries in May, during her west coast visit. But with strong online support and with fewer donors facing maxed out contributions, Obama continues to maintain a larger war chest that buys him the luxury of more time dedicated to campaigning for the nomination.