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A black Democrat who lives on the South Side of Chicago received the most money from rural Americans of any of the candidates running for president. In the second quarter of this year, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama collected $861,646 in donations from people living in rural communities, more than any other candidate — and he received donations from more rural Americans living in a wider variety of places than competitors in either party, according to a Daily Yonder analysis of campaign contributions. Campaign contributions from rural residents are low in comparison to what candidates collect in the cities. A little more than five percent of the campaign contributions given in this latest reporting period came from rural Americans, who make up 26 percent of the nation’s population. The candidates collected a total of $101 million from urban Americans in the second quarter of this year, but only $5.7 million from those living in rural counties. (The Yonder’s definition of what’s rural can be found here.) Urban Americans contributed, on average, 49 cents per person. Rural Americans donated only 8 cents. These proportions differed little from the first quarter report. Although George Bush won nearly 60 percent of the vote in rural counties in both 2000 and 2004, the contributions from rural Americans during the second quarter of ’07 were evenly split between candidates of both parties. The size and breadth of Sen. Obama’s contributions from rural Americans swept away his opponents. Obama collected $100,000 more in rural America than Sen. Hillary Clinton, but had nearly twice the number of rural donors. Obama collected more than twice as much from donors living in rural counties as did former Sen. John Edwards, who has concentrated his campaign on rural issues and in rural places. Obama raised more money than any candidate in the second quarter. The only candidate to come close to Obama’s totals from rural America was former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who continued to plow up money from ski counties in Utah, where he headed the 2002 Winter Olympics. Still, Romney had fewer donors and donations than Obama. Romney received contributions from people living in 777 rural counties out of a total of 2, 580. Obama had contributors in 888 rural counties. Libertarian Republican Ron Paul was a minor favorite among rural givers. Although lagging in the polls, Paul’s collected more in the second quarter from rural Americans than surging Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas. Several candidates had significant declines in their rural fundraising from the first quarter of ’07. Edwards raised over $1 million in the first three months from rural donors, but less than half of that in the second. Mitt Romney led all candidates in rural fundraising in the first quarter with over $1.1 million. He was second in this reporting period with just a little more than $800,000. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson tapped oil and gas interests in eastern New Mexico to raise nearly $900,000 earlier in the year; he gathered less than $600,000 in this quarter. NEXT: The rural counties the candidates mined for cash. RURAL GIVING BY STATE Total given to presidential candidates by rural residents of each state, second quarter of 2007.
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