Obama, McCain show cash on hand
By Jim Kuhnhenn
WASHINGTON — Barack Obama raised $41 million in March and had $42 million available to spend against debt-ridden Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton in April, campaign finance reports filed Sunday show.
Clinton reported raising $20 million in March and had $9 million for the primary available at the beginning of April. But she also reported debts of $10.3 million, putting her in the red.
Overall, Obama had $51 million in the bank at the end of March, with nearly $9 million of that available only for the general election.
The money positioned Obama to undertake an expensive April campaign in Pennsylvania, where he has outspent Clinton and cut into her lead. Pennsylvania votes on Tuesday.
Obama’s fundraising in March led all candidates, but was still lower than the mark he set in February, when he raised more than $55 million. He has raised $235 million in his campaign.
The campaigns filed their finance reports with the Federal Election Commission.
Republican John McCain’s report showed he raised $15.2 million and had $11.6 million in the bank. The Arizona senator’s March figures were his best fundraising performance of the campaign.
Obama spent $30.6 million in March — a month that began with tough contests for the Illinois senator in Ohio and Texas. He lost the popular vote to Clinton in both state primaries even though he outspent her, but he emerged with more delegates in Texas.
His report showed he spent $9 million on media advertising, an amount mostly spent in final days before the March 4 Ohio and Texas primaries. Obama did spend money in March for ads in Pennsylvania and Indiana, which votes May 6. But he held off on most of his big ad spending until April, permitting him to build up his cash on hand.
Obama reported owing more than $660,000 to various vendors. Beside advertising, his other major expenses were nearly $5 million in telemarketing and $3.6 million for travel and lodging.
In keeping with his trend, California was Obama’s go-to fundraising state, generating nearly $4.6 million in contributions in March. New York was next with nearly $3.2 million.
Clinton spokesman Jay Carson said $15 million of Clinton’s $20 million was raised over the Internet. He said the campaign has raised $60 million over the Internet since Jan. 1. The surge of online support suggests she is attracting more small-dollar donors, but contributors who give larger amounts could also be encouraged to give online.
The March figures do not include the $2.5 million she raised last week at an Elton John concert in New York. Carson said the event’s total sum included money from 6,000 new donors.
Clinton spent $22.2 million in March.
McCain in March refunded donors about $3 million in contributions, most of it money he had received for the general election. The refunds set the stage for McCain to accept about $84 million in public funds for the fall campaign. Candidates who accept public financing cannot raise money from donors for the general election campaign.
McCain’s biggest expense of the month was $3 million to Fidelity & Trust Bank to finish paying off a $4 million loan that had become the focus of a stalemate between McCain and the FEC. Campaign finance regulators want to make sure McCain did not use the promise of public financing in the primary to secure the loan. McCain was eligible for public financing in the primary, but his lawyers said they did not use that eligibility as collateral.
In March, his operating expenses were $5 million, his smallest monthly expense so far this year.
McCain’s March expenses ranged from $758,000 for air charters to $151.55 to a Los Angeles florist. The campaign reported a debt of $707,000, much of it outstanding American Express billings. McCain had his most fundraising success in California and Florida, each of which yielded more than $1 million.