Democrat Obama raises $32 million in January

( Reuters ) - Barack Obama raised $32 million for his Democratic presidential nominating campaign in January, a huge haul that aides said will give him the ability to compete in a potentially long and costly race.

The one-month fundraising total essentially matched Obama's biggest three-month haul during 2007 and reflected the heightening intensity of a hard-fought nominating race with New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Clinton has not yet released her January figures.

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said the campaign attracted 170,000 new donors in January, giving him a total of 650,000 individual donors since the race began. The Illinois senator split the first four nominating contests with Clinton in January in a battle that shows signs of extending into March or beyond.

Plouffe said the campaign is already advertising in most of the 22 states holding Democratic contests on Tuesday and would launch radio and television ads on Friday in a half-dozen states holding contests between February 9 and February 12.

"If this ends up going through March and April we think we are going to have the resources necessary to conduct vigorous campaigns in every state to come," Plouffe told reporters.

Thursday is the deadline for fourth-quarter financial reports for the presidential contenders in both parties, which will provide a glimpse of how much money candidates had at the end of 2007 as they headed into the first voting.

Both Obama and Clinton already announced how much they raised in the last three months of 2007. Clinton brought in $24 million for the nominating race and Obama raised $22.4 million.

Reports for January are not due at the Federal Election Commission until February 20, but Obama's campaign was anxious to announce its good news before Tuesday's voting.

Plouffe said the biggest single day of donations in January was the day after Obama's narrow loss to Clinton in New Hampshire, which came shortly after his breakthrough win in the first contest in Iowa.

Many of the campaign's donors were fueling his grass-roots volunteer efforts in key states as well, he said.

"They are manning phone banks and door-knocking and they are volunteering for election day," Plouffe said.

The new Obama ads will air in Washington, Nebraska and Louisiana, which hold Democratic contests on February 9. They also will air in Maine, which has a February 10 caucus, and in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C., which vote on February 12.

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