The Barack Obama campaign told the Associated Press that they expect to total 250,000 contributions before the second quarter fundraising reporting deadline. That would give him more than the impressive number achieved in Q1.

The freshman Illinois senator impressed rivals in the first quarter when he reported 104,000 donors, but he surpassed the mark in the second quarter with 138,000 more opening their wallets, the campaign told The Associated Press.

The speculation is that his dollar total should be somewhere in the same neighborhood as the $25 million he raised last quarter, which put him neck-and-neck with Hillary.

Another nice bit of news for Obama is detailed in a Real Clear Politics story stating the John Edwards campaign is “crumbling” and that Senator from Illinios stands to benefit the most from this:

So while the national horserace numbers between Clinton and Obama have remained unchanged during the last quarter, Edwards’ implosion has strategically weakened Senator Clinton’s hold on the nomination. The Clinton campaign wants to neutralize Edwards and to limit the odds of him breaking out with an early win in Iowa. But they don’t want to see Edwards’ campaign totally implode and allow the anti-Hillary forces to rally behind an increasingly powerful Senator Obama.

With more than six months before the first polls open in Iowa (a very merry Christmas Caucus anyone?), and with the level that Clinton and Obama are fundraising, this race could very quickly degenerate into a two-horse match race and not the Derby that some expect.

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