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Candidates pull in $790 million

The Nation

Obama has the lead in fundraising, reporting $192.7 million total. Also-rans are busy paying money back.

March 21, 2008|Dan Morain | Times Staff Writer

Led by Barack Obama, Democratic and Republican presidential contenders -- including the remaining candidates and those who dropped out -- have raised $790 million since the campaign began 14 months ago, campaign finance reports filed Thursday show.

Obama, the freshman Democratic senator from Illinois, reported raising $192.7 million and spending $154.7 million on his campaign through the end of February. He spent $42.7 million in February while competing in more than 30 nominating contests.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) was second in fundraising. She collected $34.6 million in February, pushing her total to $173.8 million. That includes $10 million from her Senate campaign account and a $5-million personal loan. Clinton owes consultants and other vendors an additional $3.7 million.

The presumptive GOP nominee, John McCain, raised $11 million in February, his best month. Overall, the Arizona senator had raised $60.2 million, and spent $49 million through the end of February. McCain paid off much of his debt to consultants and other vendors. An aide to McCain said Thursday that McCain had raised more in the month of March than he did in any three-month period previously.

McCain's campaign stalled last summer when he ran out of money. He said at the time that he would take federal matching funds for the primary season, but he reversed that position after he became the presumptive nominee and money started flowing.

Through the same 14-month period four years earlier, President Bush raised $158 million and Sen. John Kerry $41.4 million for their presidential runs.

Democratic presidential candidates overall, including those who dropped out, raised $461 million and spent $384.7 million, compared with Republicans, who raised $328.8 million and spent $290.8 million.

Also-rans filed reports that reflected how they are unwinding their campaigns:

Former Sen. John Edwards, a Democrat from North Carolina, received $3.06 million in federal matching funds in February, and used it to begin repaying a $9-million loan used to run his campaign. He owed $5.9 million as of Feb. 29. Edwards raised $38.98 million and spent $40.1 million before dropping out of the race in January.

Republican Mitt Romney reported taking out an additional $2 million in loans, pushing the total he put into his own campaign to $44.3 million. Counting the loans, he amassed $110.9 million for his failed campaign and spent $105 million.

Onetime GOP front-runner Rudolph W. Giuliani refunded $3.16 million -- apparently most or all of it money given for the November general election -- to more than 1,400 high-end donors. Under federal law, donors are limited to giving $2,300 for a candidate's primary efforts and $2,300 for the general election.

Giuliani backers receiving $2,300 refunds include William E. Simon Jr., who ran unsuccessfully for California governor in 2002; six members of the Fertitta family, which controls Las Vegas-based Station Casinos; Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens; and Paul E. Singer, who with others affiliated with his New York hedge fund, Elliott Associates, raised more than $400,000 for Giuliani.

Giuliani raised $64.94 million and spent $56.95 million on his campaign, which ended at the end of January. He captured one delegate in Nevada.

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dan.morain@latimes.com

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