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Shelby No. 1 senator with campaign cash in campaign cash

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, had more cash in his Senate campaign treasury at year’s end than any other senator, including presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Shelby’s stockpile of nearly $12 million is particularly striking given the relatively low costs of television advertising in Alabama compared with states like New York. Political experts said it sends a frightening message to would-be challengers, and Shelby isn’t even up for re-election until 2010.

“It almost leaves you speechless how much money that is, especially in the Alabama television market,” said Susan Parker, a state Public Service Commissioner who ran unsuccessfully against Alabama’s other senator, Republican Jeff Sessions, in 2002. “It would certainly be daunting to go against that much money ... I’m not planning on taking him on.”

The latest financial reports, covering through the end of 2006, show Shelby with $11.6 million. Clinton had $11 million, which she can transfer to the Democratic presidential bid she began last month.

“I take nothing for granted,” Shelby, said in a prepared statement. “I am running for re-election in 2010 and plan to continue representing the people of Alabama as long as they believe in the work I’m doing for our state.”

Shelby’s fundraising stands out among his colleagues. The vast majority of the nation’s 100 senators had between $1 million and $3 million.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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