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corporate dominance | economic justice selection 2004

Bush raises $170 Million, Kerry surges to $61 Million

Bush is aided by a network of 455 top fund-raisers who have each gathered at least $100,000 for the campaign.
Bloomberg, March 26, 2004

(Washington) -- President George W. Bush passed his goal of raising a record $170 million for his re-election campaign, while challenger John Kerry raised more money in one month than any Democratic candidate in history.

Bush raised at least $12 million this month through March 17, bringing the total for his re-election bid to $171.4 million, according to his campaign Web site. Kerry raised at least $20 million in March through yesterday, breaking the one-month record for a Democratic candidate of $8.4 million that he set in February, according to campaign announcements.

Bush, the 10 Democrats who have campaigned to take his job, the national party committees and outside groups working to influence the presidential election have raised at least $623.4 for the presidential election so far, with Republicans raising 50.3 percent of the total and Democrats 49.7 percent, according to Federal Election Commission and Internal Revenue Service disclosures. Kerry and other Democrats have solicited donations via the Internet this month by portraying Republicans as more successful at raising money.

"Democratic crocodile tears about no money' are about as phony as Martha Stewart's defense claims,'' said Larry Sabato, Director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Bush and his 10 Democratic rivals spent $242.5 million through Feb. 29, compared with the $277.6 million that 19 candidates spent during the entire 2000 primary contest, according to Federal Election Commission records. Donations for both parties have risen, helped by a doubling of individual contribution limits to $2,000, and by Kerry, Bush and former Vermont Governor Howard Dean's decisions to spurn a federal aid that would require them to hold to spending limits during primary- election season.

Kerry's Record

Kerry, a 60-year-old U.S. senator from Massachusetts, has increased his fund-raising total by half to at least $61 million in the three weeks following the March 3 withdrawal of his last main rival, North Carolina Senator John Edwards.

No other Democratic presidential candidate has ever raised more than Kerry has. The most money raised through donations by any presidential candidate prior to this year's election cycle was set by Bush in 2000, who collected $94.5 million prior to the Republican National Convention, which began July 29th of that year. After the party conventions, both parties' candidates will receive about $75 million in federal funds for the general campaign that begins after the conventions and ends with the Nov. 2 election.

Kerry "has got a bunch of fund-raising galas around the country over the next few months, and the ones that were projected to by $500,000 or $1 million are now set to raise $1 million, $2 million or more,'' said John Coale, a trial attorney in Washington who has raised more than $100,000 for Kerry. "It's coming in very easily now.''

DNC, Outsiders Help

Kerry will be helped by the Democratic National Committee, which will have $25 million in cash at month's end, DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe said yesterday. The committee raised $11 million at a "unity dinner'' last night at Washington's National Building Museum featuring Kerry; his former challengers in the primary, Howard Dean and Edwards; former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter; and former Texas Governor Ann Richards.

Kerry is helped by groups working outside the party system, such as the Media Fund and America Coming Together, which are airing anti-Bush TV advertisements and registering voters in states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida.

Such groups, funded in part by at least $6.5 million in donations by billionaire hedge-fund manager George Soros, have raised at least $32.7 million. Republicans have few such groups.

"We have not had a Republican George Soros step forward,'' said David Bossie, president of Citizens United, a Republican group supporting Bush's re-election by running television advertisements. "We haven't had anyone give us a six-figure check let alone a seven-figure check.''

Groups such as Citizens United are hampered in their fund- raising efforts by a perception among potential donors that the Bush campaign is raising enough money to run the campaign without the help of outside groups, Bossie said.

Bush is aided by a network of 455 top fund-raisers who have each gathered at least $100,000 for the campaign. This group of "Rangers'' -- $200,000 donors -- and "Pioneers'' -- $100,000 donors -- are planning more events in the coming months, said Michael Castine, president of Dover Management LLC, a Greenwich, Connecticut, investment company.

"I've only had two people turn me down'' for contributions, Castine, a Pioneer, said in an interview. "I'll continue to keep raising as much as I can.''

The following table gives the total parties, candidates and outside groups have raised for the presidential election. All figures are in millions of dollars.

Republican donations
$..171.4 ... Bush Campaign (through March 17)
$..138.6 ... Republican National Committee (end-Feb.)
$.....3.6 ... Club for Growth 527 Committee (end-Feb.)
$..313.6 ... Republican total

Democratic donations
$...61.0 ... Kerry Campaign (through March 25)
$...56.0 ... Democratic National Committee (end-Feb.)
$...12.5 ... America Coming Together 527 (end-2003)
$.....7.9 ... Joint Victory Campaign 2004 (end-2003)
$.....4.8 ... MoveOn.org Voter Fund (end-2003)
$.....3.1 ... The Partnership for America's Families (end-2003)
$.....3.0 ... The Media Fund 527 Committee (end-2003)
$.....0.8 ... Voices for Working Families 527 (end-2003)
$.....0.6 ... Grassroots Democrats (end-2003)
$..160.1 ... Nine Other Presidential Candidates (end-Feb.)
$..309.8 ... Democratic total

Source: FEC and IRS disclosures tracked by PoliticalMoneyLine, campaign announcements.

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