WASHINGTON – President Bush has raised at least $150 million since beginning his re-election effort last May, according to a campaign finance report filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission (search).
Bush raised about $12.9 million last month, the report showed. The campaign said it added 50,000 new donors in January.
Although it has spent millions preparing to face the Democratic Party's nominee, the Bush campaign still began February with $104 million in the bank.
Bush has raised more than $4.5 million so far in February, donations through Feb. 11 listed on his campaign Web site show. The fund raising continues: The campaign sent an e-mail Thursday urging supporters to donate money or campaigning time to help Bush avoid an election as close as the 2000 contest.
"In the closest presidential election in modern history, 24,731 people in a nation of 280 million made the difference for 59 electoral votes," the campaign said. "Will you be one of the people who makes a difference this time?"
Bush spent about $7.5 million last month. The single biggest spending area was related to direct mail; the campaign spent at least $2.2 million on printing, postage and mailing list rentals.
Bush spent at least $894,860 at ad-making firms and at least $255,000 on Internet services. Much of his remaining spending went to overhead such as staff salaries and office operating costs.
Bush was the first to file his January campaign finance report. All the presidential hopefuls were required to detail their fund raising and spending for the month in reports to the FEC by midnight Friday.
Democratic front-runner John Kerry's (search) campaign said it has raised at least $7 million so far this year, and is trying to raise $2 million more before the March 2 "Super Tuesday" delegate contests in 10 states.
Kerry's top challenger, John Edwards (search), has raised at least $4.7 million. Unlike Kerry, Edwards is taking part in the presidential public financing program, which limits his state-by-state and overall spending but also provides his campaign with a government grant each month.
Edwards expects to be eligible for about $1 million when he receives his next grant March 1, spokesman Roger Salazar said.
The public financing system (search) gives participating primary candidates a government match of up to $250 for each private donation they receive, up to a total grant of about $18.6 million. It limits their overall spending to $45 million.
By opting out, Bush and Kerry have freed themselves from the program's spending caps. However, Kerry has promised to stick to the overall $45 million limit until he becomes the party's presumptive nominee.