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TUESDAY, JULY 24, 2007

Edwards, Giuliani top Alabama fundraisers

BIRMINGHAM (AP) — Alabamians have donated more than $1.2 million to presidential candidates so far, with Democrat John Edwards and Republican Rudy Giuliani leading the fundraising in Alabama.

The Birmingham News reported that campaign finance reports show that Edwards, a former U.S. senator from North Carolina and former vice presidential nominee, has raised $394,137 in Alabama.

His contributors include some of Alabama's best known lawyers, including former Lt. Gov. Jere Beasley and Southern Poverty Law Center founder Morris Dees.

"I think if he would come to Alabama now, it would boost his overall chances to do well here, not just financially but otherwise," Beasley said.

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton was second in the Democratic fundraising at $160,265, followed by Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd at $58,850 and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama at $52,764,

Obama's campaign finance reports do not yet include his recent campaign fundraisers in Huntsville and Birmingham.

Clinton's contributors include former state Democratic Party Chairman Redding Pitt and Mobile attorney Vince Kilborn, who represents former Gov. Don Siegelman.

GOP giving

On the Republican side, Giuliani, the former New York mayor, reported raising $249,375 from Alabamians, including GOP stalwarts Linda Maynor of Gurley and Jerry Lathan of Mobile.

Following Giuliani were former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with $133,250 and Arizona Sen. John McCain with $110,725.

More than one party

Some contributors gave to more than one candidate within a party, but Birmingham attorney Charlie Waldrep gave to Edwards and Giuliani.

Waldrep told The Birmingham News that he supports both.

"They're both quality individuals capable of leading the country in the right direction," he said.

The total amount raised by presidential candidates in Alabama is more than candidates have raised in some similar Southern states, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Political leaders credit that to Alabama moving up its 2008 presidential primary from June to February, which increased the importance of the primary.

"I think people in the state, Democrat and Republican, are starting to see the candidates come through their hometowns, making the people of Alabama much more engaged," said John Ross, executive director of the Alabama Republican Party.

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

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