WASHINGTON – President Bush raised a total of $260 million for the primary-election phase of his campaign, taking in $18 million last month alone before accepting full government financing for the race's final two months.
Bush's total is well over double the then-presidential record of roughly $106 million that he set in the 2000 primary race. Unlike that race, this year Bush faced no Republican opponent.
In all, Bush spent nearly $224 million from the official start of his re-election effort in May 2003 through last month, a monthly campaign finance report he filed Monday with the Federal Election Commission (search) shows. He spent about $14 million in August.
Bush finished the primary campaign with nearly $37 million on hand and only about $21,000 in bills to pay. He cannot spend the leftover money on his own campaign, but can parcel it out to Republican Party committees and candidates.
Bush and Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry (search) accepted $75 million each in full government financing for the general-election phase of their campaigns, which started for each when he was nominated at his party convention this summer. Kerry must make his government funding stretch a month longer than Bush; Kerry was nominated in late July in Boston, while Bush accepted the GOP nomination Sept. 2 in New York.
While Bush holds the all-time record for presidential fund-raising, Kerry set a high mark for Democrats. He raised $233 million and spent at least $185 million from the start of his campaign in January 2003 through July, according to the most recent figures available for his campaign.
Both candidates were reporting their latest fund-raising and spending figures to the FEC in reports due at midnight Monday.
While they can no longer raise campaign money for themselves, the two can accept donations to campaign legal compliance funds and can fund-raise for their national party committees, which can spend unlimited amounts supporting them.