- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 2, 2008

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) | Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain raised at least $47 million in August, his biggest haul of money so far and a sign that he is dispelling doubts about his campaign among conservative donors.

Two campaign officials discussed the fundraising Monday on the condition of anonymity because the numbers had not been officially tallied.

The amount was just shy of the $50 million that Democratic rival Barack Obama raised in July. Obama campaign officials would not comment on their August fundraising. The campaigns do not have to submit their August financial reports to the Federal Election Commission until Sept. 20.

One official said the campaign had raised $10 million since Mr. McCain announced Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate Friday. Mrs. Palin has emerged as a popular vice-presidential candidate among social conservatives who have eyed Mr. McCain with suspicion.

Another official said that the Republican Party and the campaign will have between $224 million and $240 million available next week going into the fall campaign. That amount would include the $85 million in public funds that Mr. McCain will receive after he officially becomes the Republican nominee Thursday.

A Republican Party official said the Republican National Committee raised about $22 million in August, shy of their $26 million sum in July.

After receiving the federal funds, Mr. McCain will be prohibited from raising any more money for his campaign. Any cash that is left in his account on Sept. 1 could be shifted to the Republican National Committee or state party committees that have federal accounts set aside to help his campaign.

The $47 million represents money raised by the campaign and Mr. McCain’s share of a joint victory fund set up with the Republican Party. In July, Mr. McCain’s last best fundraising performance, he raised $26 million.

The McCain camp expects the RNC’s McCain-Palin Victory ‘08 fund to raise $100 million in September and October, giving the campaign overall access to more than $300 million for the fall contest.

Mr. Obama decided to decline his share of federal funds, anticipating he could raise more though private donations. Fundraisers have said he and the Democratic National Committee need to raise more than $200 million in September and October to stay ahead of Mr. McCain and make the decision to reject public funds worthwhile.

Obama advisers have said they expected his already record-setting fundraising to have surged during the Denver Democratic convention last week and after his acceptance speech at Invesco Field at Mile High on Thursday.

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