Roundup: Primary Watch

Sen. Clinton makes big money in first quarter

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign announced last week it will report $36 million in total receipts for the first fund-raising quarter, which ended March 31. The number reflects the strength of support for Clinton from every walk of life and every part of America, the campaign said.

"We are overwhelmed by the tremendous enthusiasm and historic response this campaign has received so far," said campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle. "Going forward, we are poised to continue this success and make even more history."

In March of 2003, the highest total reported by a Democratic campaign in its first-quarter fund-raising report was $7.4 million, and the top four candidates combined raised just over $23 million. In March of 1999, incumbent Vice President Al Gore reported $8.9 million for his first quarter.

Romney reports $23M

The Romney for President campaign announced it raised $23 million in total receipts for the first quarter. The campaign opted to raise no general election funds and raised $20.63 million in primary contributions. The total includes a $2.35 million loan from Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

The campaign said the strength of Romney's fund raising demonstrates that his message of change in Washington through innovation and transformation is resonating with people across this country.

"Governor Romney is winning over voters and supporters because he is the candidate with the best ideas and the most detailed vision for leading the country into the future," said Romney for President campaign spokesman Kevin Madden. "Governor Romney's fund-raising totals are indicative of the extraordinary success he has had reaching out and discussing important issues with the American people."

Immigration his focus

Colorado Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo declared his candidacy for the 2008 presidential election Monday morning on a radio talk show in Des Moines, Iowa.

Tancredo's candidacy will be focused almost entirely on immigration issues, which he hopes to bring to the forefront among the leading Republican candidates of Rudy Giuliani, Romney and Sen. John McCain.

The Littleton Republican is an outspoken critic of allowing Mexicans to cross the border and obtain jobs in the United States. He is a staunch supporter of erecting an impenetrable fence along the 2,000-mile border.

He said he also believes the government should sanction employers who hire undocumented workers, reasoning that the jobs would dry up and the workers would return home.

"The outpouring of support we have received over the past three months has been tremendous and, frankly, it has far exceeded what I anticipated," Tancredo said Monday.

Gun rights at forefront

McCain's presidential campaign announced that former sheriff Steve Hodges, former sheriff Walter Morse, former state Rep. Allen MacNeil, and small-business owner Luc Cote have joined the Arizona senator's team and will serve as chairmen of the sportsmen coalition in New Hampshire.

Hodges, a former Belknap County sheriff, is also a former New Hampshire Fish and Game commissioner.

"John McCain has consistently worked to secure the rights of gun owners and strengthen law enforcement," said Hodges. "I am honored to help build his effort in New Hampshire."

Prior to his tenure as sheriff of Hillsborough County, Morse was a 31-year veteran of the New Hampshire State Police. He is currently the vice chairman of the New Hampshire Fish and Game commission and the owner of Morse Sporting Goods in Hillsboro.

"As an avid hunter and former sheriff, I look for the candidate that understands the idea that with great freedoms come great responsibilities, which is why I am supporting Senator John McCain," said Morse.

MacNeil, chairman of the House Fish and Game Committee, is vice chairman of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Public Water Access Advisory Board and a lifelong hunter with more than 45 years' experience as an instructor of hunter education.

"I know John McCain to be a strong defender of the Second Amendment, which is why I have decided to work on his behalf," said MacNeil.

Cote is the owner of L.L. Cote Sports Center in Errol.

"This country needs a leader committed to protecting the rights of sportsmen and John McCain is just that man," said Cote.

McCain expressed his appreciation of their support.

"I stand with New Hampshire sportsmen in placing a high value on natural resource stewardship and our constitutional right to bear arms," said Senator McCain. "I look forward to counsel from these individuals as we move forward in New Hampshire."