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Record Donations Put Kerry in Line With Bush

Democrat John Kerry (search) has nearly matched President Bush in spending since the primaries ended, tapping record donations to pour roughly $111 million into his bid over the past four months.

Both Kerry and Bush have taken in unprecedented sums, thanks in part to their decisions to skip public financing and its $45 million spending limit through the primaries. The decision freed them to raise as much as possible in private donations.

Kerry reported to the Federal Election Commission (search) late Tuesday that he raised a Democratic record of more than $186 million from January 2003 through last mo a big role, accounting for about one-third of his donations last month.

The Massachusetts senator started July with about $37 million on hand after spending roughly $28 million in June. Kerry spent about $110 million from his sweep of the Super Tuesday primaries on March 2 through June as he and Bush hit the airwaves with ads; overall, Kerry has spent at least $149 million on his White House bid.

Kerry's record fund raising began after his primaries victories. Before his string of wins his campaign found itself short on cash, prompting Kerry to mortgage his Boston home to give his campaign a $6 million loan.

Bush spent roughly $164 million on his re-election effort through June. That includes about $12 million last month and $114 million from March through last month.

Bush started July with $64 million in the bank, a finance report he filed Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission showed.

The Republican incumbent took in about $13 million last month, pushing his record fund raising to around $230 million.

Bush and Kerry are each expected to accept $75 million in full government financing for the fall campaign after they are officially nominated at their party conventions. If they do, they will be barred from using donations for campaign costs from that point.