McCain has a million-dollar week

By Jonathan D. Salant, Associated Press, 12/20/99

WASHINGTON -- Sen. John McCain raised more than $1 million last week as his recent rise in public opinion polls brought new contributors to his presidential campaign.

The Arizona Republican, who leads or is tied with GOP front-runner George W. Bush in several New Hampshire polls, now has taken in more than $5 million since Oct. 1, almost double the amount he raised during the first nine months of the year. To date, he has raised around $13 million, plus another $2 million transferred from his Senate campaign.

"My message of reforming government by getting rid of the influence of special interests is resonating across the country," McCain said.

The campaign said more than 8,000 people contributed last week, including those attending a weekend fund-raiser in Virginia and others who gave without being asked.

The McCain campaign also expects to qualify for more than $5 million in federal matching funds, breaking through the $20-million barrier. The federal government matches the first $250 of each individual contribution to presidential candidates who agree to limit their campaign spending.

Still, McCain trails Bush in national polls and in overall fund raising. The Texas governor, who has already raised more than $63 million, is not accepting federal matching funds for the primaries.

McCain is hoping that a victory in the New Hampshire primary can help narrow both the polling and fund-raising gaps with Bush.

Campaign spokesman Howard Opinsky said McCain hopes the Internet will allow the campaign to quickly convert a strong showing in New Hampshire into the needed contributions to continue the fight for the Republican nomination. To date, the McCain campaign has raised more than $750,000 online.

"Because of the speed in which you can process contributions online, it will help us to be able to turn a bounce out of New Hampshire into strong fund raising that we can use later in the process," Opinsky said.

Another Republican candidate, conservative activist Gary Bauer, expects to raise around $7 million by Dec. 31. Including his federal matching funds, Bauer will have more than $11 million.

On the Democratic side, former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley's campaign expects to raise more than $26 million by Dec. 31. That is more than Bradley's initial fund-raising goal of $25 million. The campaign also expects to qualify for $10 million in federal funds.

"Due mainly to a steady increase in the amount of grassroots support we have received, we've been able to meet and exceed those goals," Bradley spokesman Tony Wyche said.