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Clock Strikes Midnight for Senate Candidate Fundraising

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Tom Campbell and Carly Fiorina, the top two contenders for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, desperately reached out to supporters for money yesterday. In emails yesterday, they explained that they needed money ASAP -- in fact, if donors didn't read their email until today, it was too late.

Why the rush?

Campaign contributions are reported not every day but in periods. When the clock struck midnight this morning, the final reporting period ended -- that is, the fundraising totals for that period are the last ones that voters will see before the June 8 primary.

And why should those numbers matter? They don't in some elections, such as the Republican governor's race -- everybody knows that Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner are loaded. But Republicans may be worrying about the financial strength of Campbell and Fiorina as they decide on which candidate to put up against incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer in the fall.

Boxer is getting assistance in her fundraising from President Obama, who will be in the state next week to help her with donors. But Republicans have a recent history of fielding Senate candidates who don't raise enough money to compete. The last Republican to challenge Boxer -- Bill Jones -- never managed to scrape enough money to air a TV commercial statewide.

The results of the just-ended fundraising period are probably most important for the frontrunner in most polls, Campbell, who has been known as a clever policy thinker but not as a particularly effective fundraiser over a long career in Congress and the state legislature. If Republicans make their decision on fundraising, they may choose Fiorina, who has some scratch from her career in the corporate world to put into her campaign.

What's that, Republicans? Didn't get your check in on time? Don't worry, your money is still good to Poizner and Whitman. It's just not worth as much as it was 24 hours ago.

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