Kerry faced tight finances as March began

/ Source: The Associated Press

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry spent nearly as much as he raised last month and had little campaign cash left as March began, according to a report he filed Saturday.

The Massachusetts senator raised $8.4 million and spent nearly $8.3 million in February, beginning this month with $2.4 million in the bank, according to his monthly campaign finance report to the Federal Election Commission.

Kerry raised $41.4 million from the start of his campaign last year through last month. That includes roughly $6 million in loans he financed by mortgaging his family's Boston home. Kerry had spent $39 million and had $7.7 million in campaign debts as of March 1.

President Bush, facing no Republican opponent, started March with $160 million raised and $49 million spent. He had $110 million on hand to spend as Kerry emerged from this month's "Super Tuesday" primaries as the Democratic nominee-to-be.

Fund raising has picked up for Kerry this month. His campaign says it has raised at least $14 million over the Internet so far in March.

Bush's record fund-raising pace has also continued. As of mid-March, he has raised roughly $170 million.