WASHINGTON – House and Senate candidates have spent at least $487 million this election cycle, $130 million more than congressional candidates had poured in by this point in the 2002 races.
A Federal Election Commission (search) analysis Wednesday found that 2004 House and Senate hopefuls had raised nearly $800 million as of June 30, the most recent period covered in campaign finance reports filed with the FEC.
That compares with about $605 million collected at this point in the 2001-02 election cycle. Much of the growth comes from a new campaign finance law that took effect after the 2002 election and doubled the individual donation limit to $2,000.
The top fund-raisers among current House and Senate candidates include:
— Senate: Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., $11.8 million; Arlen Specter, R-Pa., $11.4 million; Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., $11.2 million; Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., $10.4 million, and Barack Obama, Democratic candidate for an open Illinois Senate seat, $9.8 million.
— House: Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., $3.7 million; Robert Menendez, D-N.J., $3.4 million; Martin Frost, D-Texas, $3.1 million; Texas Democratic hopeful Michael McCaul, $2.7 million, and Allyson Schwartz, a Democrat running for an open Pennsylvania seat, $2.7 million.
Those with the most campaign money in the bank as July began include:
— Senate: Schumer, $21.8 million; Richard Shelby, R-Ala., $11.6 million; Evan Bayh, D-Ind., $7.4 million; Boxer, $7 million, and Richard Burr, a Republican running for an open North Carolina seat, $6.6 million.
— House: Rep. Martin Meehan, D-Mass, $3.5 million; David Dreier, R-Calif., $2.9 million; Mark Foley, R-Fla., $2.6 million; Pete Sessions, R-Texas, $2.6 million, and Tom Reynolds, R-N.Y., $2.6 million.