And the winners are ... Barack Obama and Ron Paul.

During the last three months of 2007, the senator from Illinois and the U.S. House member from Texas out-raised their rivals in the Minnesota money race.

Figures released today by the Federal Elections Commission show that Obama, a Democrat, and Paul, a Republican, raised more money from people with a Minnesota address than any of their rivals for their parties' presidential nominations.

Obama's haul, $252,647, isn't surprising because he has been a record-breaking fundraiser since entering the race. He edged New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, another prodigious fundraiser, who accumulated $225,636 in the fourth quarter. Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, who has abandoned his bid, was far behind, raising $84,696

On the Republican side, Paul's total, $111,745, managed to outstrip each of the amounts accumulated by John McCain, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, all of whom are far ahead of him in polls.

Paul's success is in line with his surprising fundraising strength nationwide, where his libertarian appeal and strong Internet presence have proved to be a powerful money magnet.

During the last three months of the year, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (who dropped out of the race this week) ranked second in Minnesota among the Republican candidates, with $87,185 raised. Arizona Sen. McCain, the party's current front-runner, was close behind, raising $83,232.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Romney, currently running second in the polls, finished behind former Ark. Gov. Huckabee. Notably, the $36,338 Huckabee raised was six times the amount he had raised in the first half of 2007 and coincided with his candidacy's surge.

Minnesota contributions for the entire year show that Obama edged out Clinton on the Democratic side, while McCain and Giuliani were far ahead of the rest of the Republican pack. • 612-673-7184