WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (search) raised at least $34 million in June, lifting his record total to more than $180 million with one month of fund raising to go.
Kerry is expected to accept full government financing for his general-election campaign, which officially starts July 29 when he is nominated at his party's convention in Boston. At that point, he will receive about $75 million in taxpayer funding — the only money he can spend campaigning until the November election.
President Bush has roughly one month longer to raise and spend private campaign funds. Bush also is expected to accept government funding for the general election campaign. He will receive his check after his party nominates him in New York City in early September.
Bush raised at least $218 million through the first week of June. His campaign has not yet released fund-raising figures for the month.
Kerry and Bush have shattered fund-raising records. Kerry, the first Democrat to opt out of public financing and its $45 million spending limit for the primary season, holds his party's record for the most raised and spent in a presidential primary campaign.
Kerry's total includes a $6 million loan. A new campaign finance law narrowed the amount of time candidates have to pay off loans using campaign donations; Kerry must decide by his party's convention whether to tap campaign contributions to pay off a mortgage he took out on his Boston home to finance his loan.
It may not be an easy decision. Kerry started June with less than half the cash on hand of Bush, and both have been spending millions of dollars on ads.
Bush is setting an overall record for presidential campaign money raised and spent with each contribution he collects and each check his campaign writes. If his fund-raising pace holds through August, he will top $250 million by the time the GOP convention arrives.
Bush long ago surpassed the record he set in 2000 by raising roughly $105 million during the primaries. He and Kerry have been helped in their fund raising for the 2004 election by a doubling of the individual donation limit to $2,000, and by more modest donations coming in over the Internet and through the mail.
Both candidates will detail their contributions and spending in reports to the Federal Election Commission due July 20.