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CAMPAIGN '08: RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE

$8.8 million in post-Palin donations

That's McCain's biggest two-day haul of the campaign, making August his best month. Obama pulls in more.

September 21, 2008|Dan Morain | Times Staff Writer

John McCain raised more than $8.8 million in the two days after he announced that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin would join him on the Republican ticket -- his biggest two-day haul of the long-running presidential campaign.

The Republican National Committee collected $4.5 million the day McCain selected Palin, newly filed Federal Election Commission reports show.

McCain's decision to tap the then-little-known politician excited the Republican rank and file, helping him raise about $2.1 million in increments of less than $1,000 in two days.

Altogether, McCain raised $6.8 million Aug. 30, the day after the Palin announcement, and $2 million the next day. Until then, McCain had never topped $2 million in a single day in this presidential campaign, the Federal Election Commission data show.

McCain raised $47.5 million in August, his most successful month. He also spent $40.5 million, including $18.1 million for advertising and $5.4 million for mailings.

Obama's campaign aides have said the Democrat raised $66 million in August, another record for the candidate who has continued to break his own fundraising records.

Obama has raised more than $450 million since his campaign began, double McCain's sum. But the Arizona Republican is using the Republican Party as an equalizer.

The Republican National Committee ended August with $76.5 million in the bank, compared with the Democratic National Committee's $17.7 million.

California was McCain's biggest source of money, $3.36 million, followed by Texas at $3.32 million. Californians also provided the most money to the RNC, $1.8 million, followed by Texans at $1.4 million.

With the two presidential campaigns trading charges about which candidate is most beholden to Wall Street, focus has turned to their donations.

McCain reported that he raised $2.1 million from individuals who listed their occupations as bankers, investors and in financial services. A handful of employees at some of the most troubled firms made donations to McCain, including $32,000 from people who listed their employer as Merrill Lynch, the investment house that was taken over last week by Bank of America.

Attorneys gave McCain at least $1.7 million, and people in the oil industry gave him at least $400,000.

Obama raised $23.1 million last month for a separate joint account called the Obama Victory Fund. The DNC will spend money from that account on Obama's campaign.

The Illinois senator has made a point of boasting about the millions he raises in small donations. But by using a joint account -- which McCain does too -- Obama can raise donations far beyond the $4,600 annual cap on individual donations. In fact, $11.4 million came in amounts of more than $4,600. Donors who gave upward of $30,000 included actor George Clooney, plus Wall Street bankers, attorneys and consultants. At least $2.8 million came from lawyers and $1.4 million from people who list their occupation as banking, investment and finance.

California was the largest source of money for the account, $6 million, followed by New York at $2.6 million.

--

dan.morain@latimes.com

Times researcher Sandra Poindexter contributed to this report.

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