WASHINGTON – John Kerry (search) raised roughly $1 million a day last month, building his presidential campaign total to a Democratic record $117 million but still trailing President Bush's cash reserves.
Kerry began May with $28 million in the bank after devoting millions to his first major ad buys since the Democratic primaries. In all, Kerry spent $35 million last month and at least $89 million since January 2003, says a campaign finance report filed late Thursday.
Bush opened the month with nearly $72 million on hand. The Republican spent $31 million in April — much of it on ads — and has used up a presidential record of $126 million since officially starting his re-election effort last May, according to his new finance report to the Federal Election Commission.
Bush raised $15 million last month, pushing his campaign total past $200 million.
Kerry and Bush have each set records for fund raising and spending: Kerry for his party, and Bush overall.
They can do so in part because each skipped public financing for the primary-election season, enabling them to spend as much as they wish until their parties officially nominate them at conventions this summer.
Last month, Kerry raised $31 million. The Massachusetts senator's total of $117 million through April includes a loan of roughly $6 million.
Internet fund-raising has been a big part of Kerry's financial surge since he won the Democratic primaries. His campaign has taken in more than $35 million online this year and has been trying for $10 million in May alone.
Kerry and Bush are expected to accept full government funding for the general-election phase of their campaigns. That means each will receive a taxpayer-financed check for about $75 million when they are nominated at their parties' conventions: Kerry in Boston in late July and Bush in New York in early September.
National party committees also filed fund-raising reports Thursday with the FEC. Among them:
— The Republican National Committee reported raising $179 million from January 2003 through last month. It spent $120 million and started May with $64 million on hand.
— The Democratic National Committee raised $91 million during the period, spent $50 million and finished April with $42 million in the bank.
— The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, raising money for House races, collected at least $42 million this election cycle and spent $31.7 million, with $11 million on hand as the month began.
— The National Republican Congressional Committee raised $101 million, spent $85 million and had $18 million left.