WASHINGTON (CNN) - In presidential politics, money can create the perception of momentum, which is why the herd of 2008 White House hopefuls will be trying to stuff as much cash as they can in their coffers by midnight Saturday to show off their fund-raising prowess ahead of an upcoming federal report.
The Federal Election Commission requires presidential candidates to report their contributions and expenditures quarterly, and Saturday is the end of the second quarter. And although they have until July 15 to actually file their report with the FEC, many campaigns - especially those that did well - are likely to release the figures sooner.
In fact, several campaigns were providing estimates of their second quarter fund-raising even before the reporting period closed.
A spokesman for New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said he has raised at least $7 million from April through June, which would be about $800,000 more than he raised in the first quarter. Richardson's overall total will top $13 million, which would put him near the top of the second-tier of Democratic candidates.
Of course, he would still be far behind the front-runners, Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, who each raised more than $25 million in the first quarter.
Howard Wolfson, a spokesman for Clinton, indicated Thursday that the former first lady would raise "in the range of $27 million" in the second quarter, which would put her total take for the year north of $53 million. But,trying to tamp down expectations, he said the Clinton campaign expects to be outraised by Obama.
Obama's campaign, which raised $25 million in the first quarter, has set a goal of getting donations from 350,000 people during the second quarter, although it did not attach a dollar total. To beat Clinton's estimate, each of those donors would to give an average of about $78.
Another Democratic hopeful, former Sen. John Edwards, e-mailed supporters Friday morning, telling them that his campaign was within "striking distance" of raising $9 million for the quarter. The campaign later put up a running total on its Web site, saying that $8.7 million had been raised and asking supporters to help top the $9 million mark.
However, even at $9 million, Edwards' fund-raising total for the last three months would be sharply lower than it was during the first quarter, when he raised more than $14 million.
During the second quarter, former Republican Sen. Fred Thompson began raising money to test the presidential waters. However, because he is not a declared candidate and his fund-raising committee was incorporated in his home state of Tennessee, rather than at the federal level, he will not be required to report.
The campaign of another GOP candidate, Sen. John McCain, said it had reached its goal of raising $3 million online during the quarter, although it did not detail any numbers for its non-Internet fund-raising.
McCain shook up his fund-raising operation in April, after his take in the first quarter - $13 million - put him behind both former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.