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FLA. FEEDS GIULIANI, CLINTON

The GOP presidential contender leads in second-quarter fundraising in the state.

Rudy Giuliani has made Florida a focus of his presidential campaign, and Floridians are returning the attention in a big way.

Campaign finance reports show the former mayor of New York raised $1.7-million in Florida from April through June - more than any other Republican or Democratic candidate.

But any claim to Florida Giuliani might make is tempered by another strong showing by the Democrats. Without putting as much emphasis on the state, Hillary Rodham Clinton raised $1.5-million for the quarter.

Giuliani's overall second quarter take was about $17-million, though $2-million of that could only be used in the general election if he wins the primary.

"It's a very important state and one where we feel we are very well-positioned," campaign spokesman Elliott Bundy said Sunday, the deadline for filing reports with the Federal Election Commission. "The numbers bear out that."

Sunday also confirmed the free fall of the man who once claimed the top GOP spot.

Arizona Sen. John McCain's fundraising has fallen dramatically, and he has been forced to shed staff and limit his focus to three states: New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina.

Despite raising about $11-million in the quarter, with an estimated $500,000 in Florida, McCain's campaign remains with $3.2-million cash on hand and a $1.8-million debt at the end of the second quarter.

That's a stark contrast to Giuliani, who has $18.3-million cash on hand, and Mitt Romney, who reported $12.1-million.

On the Democratic side, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's campaign reported a huge three-month take of more than $32-million for the primary and nearly $800,000 for the general election. His totals included $936,000 from Florida.

Chief rival Clinton, a senator from of New York, raised $27-million, $5.6-million of which could only be used in the general election.

Obama reported about $34-million in primary cash on hand; Clinton reported $33-million.

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Already an important state because of its size, Florida became a much bigger player in May when the Legislature moved up the primary to Jan. 29.

Giuliani is trying to harness that new power. He has made frequent visits to the state in recent weeks, and Giuliani will be in Miami on Tuesday for a fundraiser and meet-and-greet.

Giuliani has also added more staff to the Florida operation. There are 11 paid staff members, more than in any other state.

Romney, Giuliani's closest challenger in dollar terms, has kept up a high profile in Florida as well, having traveled here 10 times since the start of the year. He, too, has 11 staff members in Florida.

Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, took in $976,000 across the state in April, May and June, a mild dip from his first-quarter receipts.

His national take was $14-million, a potential problem given his steady spending. The numbers do not reflect $6.5-million Romney loaned his campaign.

One thing the finance reports do not reveal is the status of Fred Thompson, the Law & Order actor and former Republican senator from Tennessee. Because he has not officially declared his candidacy, Thompson does not have to report. But Thompson, viewed as the more conservative counterweight to Giuliani or Romney, has ascended to No. 2 in some Florida polls.

Former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina took in about $9-million this quarter, with about $250,000 dedicated for the general election should the Democrat win the primary. His collection, which included $511,000 from Florida, leaves him with $13.3-million cash on hand.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson jumped past other second-tier Democratic candidates with a $7-million take in the three months. Of that, $216,000 came from Florida.

"People are catching on to the governor's message of getting out of the Iraq war and becoming an energy-independent nation," spokeswoman Katie Roberts said.

But Richardson cautioned that campaign war chests should not be used to size up a candidate.

"This should not be a race about money or who has the most glitz or celebrity," he said Sunday after a presidential forum in Chicago.

Among lesser-known GOP candidates: Rep. Ron Paul of Texas continued to post sizable numbers despite little name recognition. He reported $2.4-million, with $83,000 from Florida.

Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., raised $1.4-million and reported having $460,236 in the bank. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Republican, raised $764,000 and had $437,000 cash on hand. Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson raised $461,000 in the second quarter. He reported nearly $122,000 cash on hand, but also listed debts and obligations of more than $127,000.

Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut reported raising nearly $3.3-million, with nearly $6.4-million in the bank.

Candidates had until midnight Sunday to report.

Times political editor Adam C. Smith contributed to this report, which includes information from the Associated Press.

Fundraising totals for top candidates

The figures are for April through June, and include money for the primary and general election. The first number is overall and the second for Florida.

Democrats

Hillary Rodham Clinton - $27-million / $1.5-million

Barack Obama - $32.5-million/ $936,000

John Edwards - $9-million / $511,000

Republicans

Rudy Giuliani - $17-million / $1.7-million

Mitt Romney - $14-million / $976,000

John McCain - $11.2-million / roughly $500,000

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