- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 14, 2007

Republican presidential hopeful Sen. John McCain yesterday reported $5.2 million cash on hand in his campaign account after the first three months of the year, about half what his two major opponents reported.

The Arizona Republican reported to the Federal Election Commission he raised $13.1 million in the first three months of this year and spent $8.4 million — or 61.4 percent of what he raised. That’s far higher than the “burn,” or spending rate reported by former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who spent at a more frugal rate, raised more overall and each reported more than $10 million cash on hand.

The McCain campaign has acknowledged disappointment in the numbers and announced two weeks ago it would cut some staff positions and consultants’ contracts and revamp the fundraising operation. The candidate is also embarking on a series of policy speeches to try to reclaim the mantle of front-runner.

The first fundraising quarter ran from Jan. 1 through March 31. Reports are due at the FEC today, but the Giuliani and Romney campaigns filed Friday and others filed yesterday.

In one bright spot for Mr. McCain, his campaign reported having 51,000 contributors, according to the Associated Press, more than his two main challengers.

Both Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Romney relied more heavily on donors who gave the $2,300 maximum allowed — Mr. Giuliani’s average donation was $520 and Mr. Romney’s was $650. Mr. McCain averaged about $250 per contributor.

Also reporting yesterday was Sen. Sam Brownback, Kansas Republican, who raised $1.9 million and spent $1.1 million, leaving him $806,626 in the bank at the end of March.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee reported raising $544,157 and spending $170,239 during the period. He reported $373,918 cash on hand, but also reported debts of $52,502.

From the Democratic side, Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio reported raising $344,891 and spending $194,217.

Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, who dropped out of the race in February and has since endorsed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential bid, reported raising $773,289 during the period while spending $1.1 million. He reported a debt of $303,571.

The fundraising was a joking matter at yesterday’s Iowa Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner. Rep. Tom Latham, Iowa Republican and master of ceremonies for the event, said he was happy to see Mr. Romney’s high numbers because his daughter works for the campaign.

“I wanted to make sure she continues to have a job,” he joked.

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