WASHINGTON – President Bush and Vice President Cheney have collected $34.4 million in their bid to keep control of the White House in the 2004 presidential election.
The total accounts for only the second quarter of 2004, when the Bush campaign began its official re-election effort.
So far, the campaign has received donations from 84 percent of the nation's counties and all 50 states, the Bush-Cheney campaign said.
The campaign Web site www.georgewbush.com on Tuesday posted collection plate statistics that reveal the names of more than 105,000 individuals who have given $1 or more to the re-election campaign. The list includes information on 85,591 individuals who have given less than $200, as well as larger donation contributors.
“The president believes in transparency and full disclosure. His 2000 campaign set the standard for releasing donor information and it is important that we continue to make this information available,” said Ken Mehlman, Bush-Cheney ’04 (search) campaign manager.
"These figures reflect the strong, grassroots support the president enjoys across America. The generosity of our supporters helps ensure that we will be able to take the president’s message to all corners of the nation during the upcoming election," Mehlman said.
The Republican Party has traditionally led Democrats in small contributions, raising 64 percent of contributions under $200 in the 2002 election cycle. In addition, the National Republican Congressional Committee said Tuesday it attracted 230,000 new donors in the first six months of 2003, helping it raise $44 million.
Bush and Cheney have raised $4.5 million through direct-mail solicitations to 1 million donors and raised $700,000 over the Internet.
But they have also been able to whomp up significant sums in one-night stands, including fund-raisers in Florida, Michigan, and Ohio that have collected at least a half million dollars each.
Bush is so far romping his potential Democratic opponents when it comes to war chests.
The Bush-Cheney camp has more money at its disposal than the combined second quarter earnings of the nine Democratic presidential candidates.
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (search) earned more than $7 million during the second quarter, making him the money leader in the Democratic race. But his cash-in-hand is well below the money held by more well-known candidates like Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts and John Edwards of North Carolina.
Rep. Dick Gephardt (search), D-Mo., also hoping to get the Democratic nod to run against Bush next year, fell short this week of his fund-raising goal by more than $1 million. The former House minority leader, who hoped to raise $5 million from April to June, collected just $3.87 million.
"We are on course. We are raising the amount that we set out to raise. Our budget has always been $20 million this year, and we're roughly very close to halfway to that goal," Gephardt told reporters Tuesday.
Sen. Joe Lieberman (search) of Connecticut is also suffering from fund-raising woes. He raised $5.1 million this quarter, good enough for third or fourth place but still a disappointment for the 2000 vice presidential nominee who leads in many national polls. But his top campaign finance guru resigned her position Monday and others are reportedly expected to follow. Lieberman has $4 million in cash on hand, less than Gephardt, Dean, Kerry and Edwards.
By the end of the primary election season next year, Bush hopes to rake in as much as $170 million — nearly twice the record $100 million he collected during the 2000 primaries. Some Republicans think that amount will be more like $200 million.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.