- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 20, 2004


Expenses ranging from television ads to a mariachi band pushed President Bush’s re-election spending to $126 million last month, but record fund raising left him with many millions of dollars in his campaign fund. Democratic rival Sen. John Kerry has spent roughly $87 million.

The Republican started May with nearly $72 million in the bank after spending nearly $31 million in April, according to a campaign finance report filed yesterday with the Federal Election Commission.

Mr. Bush’s spending declined after March, when he spent roughly $50 million on his first wave of campaign ads.

Mr. Kerry finished April with at least $28 million in campaign cash on hand after pouring millions into his first major ad buys since locking up the Democratic nomination, according to a statement from his campaign.

The Massachusetts senator has raised more than $115 million, slightly more than half of what Mr. Bush has collected but still a Democratic record.

Mr. Bush spent roughly $21 million on ads in April, his biggest expense last month. Among other major campaign costs, the campaign devoted more than $4 million to mailings, about $1.6 million to staff salaries, consultants and related costs, and $555,000 to phone banks.

Mr. Bush has raised at least $3 million this month, bringing him to $204 million or more. In all, the re-election effort has received money from at least 1 million donors since Mr. Bush began fund raising last May.

Mr. Bush’s primary-season money must stretch about a month longer than Mr. Kerry’s, who will receive about $75 million in full government financing for the general-election phase of the campaign after the Democratic National Convention in Boston in late July.

Mr. Bush must make his campaign fortune last until early September, when he is officially nominated at the Republican National Convention in New York and receives about $75 million in full government financing for the general-election phase of his campaign.

To sustain his spending at last month’s rate through the summer, Mr. Bush would need to raise at least $50 million more. That would be possible at his current fund-raising rate: He took in about $15 million last month, with roughly two-thirds of that in donations of under $1,000 coming in through the mail or over the Internet.

Mr. Bush has stopped holding fund-raisers for himself and is focusing on raising money for the party and other Republican candidates.

Mr. Kerry planned to file his monthly campaign finance report late yesterday. The presidential reports were due at the FEC by midnight.

National party committees also filed fund-raising reports yesterday. 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 National Republican Congressional Committee raised $101 million, spent $85 million and had $18 million left.

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