Republican presidential candidate John McCain raised more than $22 million in June, his best fundraising performance of the year, and ended the month with nearly $27 million cash on hand.
Campaign manager Rick Davis said Thursday that McCain and the national Republican Party together entered July with about $95 million in the bank. The Republican National Committee, which has been raising money jointly with McCain, collected nearly $26 million in June and had nearly $69 million on hand, officials said.
The campaign's fundraising has given McCain the ability to spend more on television advertising than Democrat Barack Obama in key battleground states. Davis said about half of its income had been spent on television advertising.
Obama has not revealed his June fundraising.
In announcing McCain's fundraising, Davis portrayed the campaign's financial position as far brighter than ever before. He said the joint RNC-McCain fundraising through direct mail is now exceeding President Bush's direct mail fundraising in 2004.
"We will have significant resources to prosecute a campaign that is very robust," Davis said.
The McCain and Obama campaigns have significantly different fundraising calculations to make.
McCain has agreed to take public financing in the fall, limiting him to about $84 million in spending for campaign activities. That means he will have to rely on the Republican Party to spend more to help his bid.
Obama has chosen to reject the public funds, the first major party candidate to do so in the general election in three decades. Obama is counting on raising far more than the $84 million he would be allotted by the taxpayer-financed presidential fund. While McCain must spend any money he raises now by the end of August, Obama does not. The Democratic senator could save that money to boost his general election spending.
"They have to determine whether they will husband their primary dollars to be used in the general election, or spend down their primary dollars to keep pace with our spending," Davis said.
Obama's campaign officials would not discuss their finances. But spokesman Bill Burton noted that Obama has more than 1.7 million donors and that, unlike Obama, McCain is getting help raising money from federal lobbyists.
"We ... are simply not surprised that John McCain and President Bush have been able to raise millions of dollars for the McCain campaign last month, much of it from Washington lobbyists," Burton said.
Besides their own spending, however, both sides have begun to see increased advertising by outside groups. A group of veterans supporting McCain's stance on the war in Iraq began running ads this week in some battleground states. The AFL-CIO also has an anti-McCain ad campaign in similar states.
Ramping up ads
Meanwhile, the RNC can spend up to $19 million in coordination with the McCain campaign. But it can also spend unlimited amounts on his behalf as long as the campaigns don't discuss those efforts.
Davis said McCain and the RNC expect to raise a combined $95 million by the end of August. After that, Davis predicted the combined party and public money available to advance McCain's campaign in the fall would total about $210 million.
Obama has proved to be a prodigious fundraiser, but the Democratic National Committee has had far less cash on hand than its Republican counterpart. At the end of May, the RNC had $53 million cash on hand to the DNC's $4 million.
McCain has been airing ads on national cable networks and in Colorado, Missouri, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Iowa. This week it cut back significantly in Minnesota, where Republicans will hold their convention, to buy time in northern Virginia. Obama has been airing ads in more states, but spending less.
Davis said he expected Obama to begin ramping up his advertising expenditures.
Obama has broken records in fundraising. He had raised $287 million by the end of May, but had only $33 million cash on hand to spend between now and the end of August.
McCain had nearly $32 million in the bank at the start of June. Davis said the lower cash-on-hand figure at the end of June reflected the campaign's additional ad spending.