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Networks image Bush campaign raises nearly $6 million in March

April 21, 2000
Web posted at: 11:38 a.m. EDT (1538 GMT)

WASHINGTON (Los Angeles Times) -- Presumptive GOP presidential nominee George W. Bush's fund-raising machine has revved up again, adding almost $6 million to his coffers in March despite earlier predictions that he had exhausted Republicans' generosity, according to reports filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission.

The Texas governor had already smashed all fund-raising records for presidential candidates, but donations received last month brought his total to a staggering $77 million. It also marked a striking increase in donations compared to January and February, when Bush was focused on beating challenger John McCain and raised only $4.5 million.

And the campaign brought in an additional $1.8 million during the first 13 days of April, said spokesman Scott McClellan.

Bradford Freeman, a merchant banker who is Bush's financial chairman in California, described the candidate's fund-raising as "recharged."

"There are new donors coming in," he said. "I don't know if they're McCain people or [former Democratic candidate] Bill Bradley people or people who just waited to give. But it just keeps trickling in."

Bush's apparent Democratic rival, Vice President Al Gore, also directed more of his attention to fund-raising in March, bringing in $1.9 million. He had about $7.7 million on hand at the beginning of last month, including federal matching funds owed to him.

Although the Bush campaign continued to raise money at a good clip, it was spending it even faster. The campaign spent $10 million in March, with only $1.6 million--or 15%--of that going to pay for television and radio advertisements. In January and February, the campaign spent $20.7 million to broadcast ads.

In March, the biggest chunk of Bush campaign money went to get-out-the-vote efforts such as phone banks, which accounted for almost $2 million--or 19%--of the month's spending, according to an analysis by the Springfield, Va.-based Campaign Study Group. That was more than double what the campaign spent on these efforts in January and February combined.

As a result, despite his aggressive fund-raising, Bush finished the month with only $6.8 million cash on hand. Bush did not accept federal matching funds, so there is no limit to the amount of money that he can raise.

Bush campaign officials did not appear nervous about the pace of spending. The governor has continued to hold fund-raisers this month, and his campaign expects to reach its goal of raising up to $10 million in March and April.

"We're going to have more than enough resources to continue spreading our message between now and the convention," McClellan said.

Gore's campaign spent about half as much as Bush's in March. Television and radio advertising accounted for the biggest portion of its spending: 44%, or $2.5 million.

Gore's campaign held its last fund-raiser of the primary campaign last week in Palo Alto. It has raised almost all that federal law allows recipients of matching funds, according to campaign sources. The campaign believes that it will be able to collect a record amount of matching funds--$15 million--because it has received a large number of donations under $250, which determine how much the government will match.

Even as they filled up their coffers, both campaigns managed to limit their fund-raising costs, each allotting only about 7% of their income for the month on such expenditures.


Friday, April 21, 2000



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