WASHINGTON – President Bush's campaign set fund-raising and spending records last month, breaking the $201 million mark in money raised and reaching $126 million in cash spent for his re-election effort.
The Republican started May with nearly $72 million left in the bank after using up nearly $31 million in April, a campaign finance report filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission (search) showed. Bush's spending declined after March, when he spent roughly $50 million on his first wave of campaign ads.
Bush has raised at least $3 million this month, bringing him to $204 million or more.
Bush must make his campaign fortune last until early September, when he is officially nominated at the Republican National Convention (search) in New York and receives about $75 million in full government financing for the general-election phase of his campaign.
Bush's primary-season money must stretch about a month longer than that of his Democratic opponent, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (search). Kerry will receive his general-election financing at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in late July.
But Kerry has to make his $75 million government check last a month longer than Bush. And because the Republican convention is timed later than the Democratic gathering, Bush will have about a month more to raise money from private contributors than Kerry.
Kerry planned to file his monthly campaign finance report Thursday. The presidential reports were due at the FEC at midnight.
Kerry's campaign said earlier that he raised at least $110 million through April, including a loan of roughly $6 million.
His campaign has raised roughly $7 million as part of a $10 million online fund-raising drive this month, pushing his total to a Democratic record of at least $117 million.
Both Bush and Kerry opted out of public financing for the primary phase of the campaign, allowing them to spend unlimited amounts through the spring and summer until their party nominating conventions.