This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.
The next presidential election in the United States is in November, two thousand eight. Yet several presidential candidates have raised large amounts of money already. Experts say the competition among the candidates to raise money has become the first important test of the campaign.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama announced this week that his campaign has raised twenty-five million dollars over the past three months.
More than one hundred thousand people have given money to the senator from Illinois for his campaign. Thousands of people made donations of twenty-five or fifty dollars. Almost seven million dollars was raised on the Internet.
Senator Obama has raised only slightly less money than Senator Hillary Clinton of New York. She has received twenty-six million dollars in campaign donations. The former first lady's donations came from fifty thousand people. Senator Clinton has so far raised more money than any other presidential candidate.
Public opinion studies show Senator Clinton has more support than the other Democratic candidates. However, experts say the amount of money Senator Obama has raised shows that he is a major candidate.
Mister Obama is second among the Democratic candidates in public opinion studies. Former North Carolina Senator John Edwards is in third place. Mister Edwards' campaign reported raising fourteen million dollars so far.
This is the second time Mister Edwards has run for the Democratic nomination for president. He and his wife, Elizabeth, have been the subjects of many news reports recently. This is because they announced that that they will continue campaigning even though Elizabeth Edwards' cancer has returned.
Among Republican Party candidates, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has raised twenty-three million dollars. Thirty-three thousand people have donated to Mister Romney's campaign. This is more money than any other Republican candidate.
This was a surprise to many people because Mister Romney is in third place among Republican candidates in most public opinion studies. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Arizona Senator John McCain are in first and second place. Mister Giuliani has raised fifteen million dollars so far this year. Mister McCain has raised twelve and one-half million dollars.
Never in American history has so much money been raised this early in a presidential election. Many states are holding their nominating party meetings and primary elections earlier in two thousand eight. This will force candidates to spend more money earlier on advertising and campaign workers.
Experts also note that the Democratic presidential candidates have raised much more money than the Republicans. Historically, the Republican candidates have raised the most money.
And that's IN THE NEWS, in VOA Special English, written by Brianna Blake. I’m Steve Ember.