Davis: McCain Money Outlook Sunny
Sen. John McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis, hosted a conference call with reporters this morning to talk about the status of the campaign’s finances — and specifically its July fund-raising totals, which Davis said set a new monthly record for the campaign:
We continue to have record months of fund-raising. This is now the fifth month in a row that we have exceeded the month before. Our total fund-raising for July was $27 million – just under a couple million [dollars] more than we did the month before. It indicates to us that our fund-raising continues to be very healthy. Overall, that’s made up of almost 600,000 donors that we have. Couple that with the [Republican National Committee] donor base that’s active now and we have over 1.5 million donors between the two of us.
We are in a different position, financially, than Barack Obama because we have agreed to take the government money that will mean that we have to stop fund-raising in our primary account and have exhausted whatever funds we’re going to use out of the primary account by Aug. 31. So we are definitely on a declining curve where we will be spending much more than we’re raising now because we’ve been successful in saving a lot of capital coming into these last two months. That being said, at the end of July we still had $21.4 million cash-on-hand. This gives us plenty enough money, in addition to our ongoing fund-raising, to prosecute a very active campaign in the month of August…By the end of August, when we have this call in September, we will happy to be able to report that we have no more cash-on-hand in the primary account.
Davis also noted that, when combined with RNC fund-raising joint efforts with various state party committees — the vast majority of which will likely be used to support McCain in the fall — the campaign effectively has more than $100 million on hand.
Our companions at the RNC have continued success fund-raising. They will report just under $26 million raised themselves, over $75 million cash-on-hand, and that would be in their federal accounts for this campaign period. When you add, also, an extensive network of joint-committees around the target states, we have been raising substantial amounts of money in addition to these. We have now, at the end of July, over $100 million cash-on-hand within those pots. Between us, I think we have a formidable financial structure.
Neither the Obama campaign nor the Democratic National Committee have released their July numbers yet. However, the Democrats had a combined $92 million cash-on-hand. last month Although Sen. Barack Obama has greatly out-raised McCain, the RNC’s fund-raising prowess has leveled the playing field considerably.
With the Aug. 31 deadline for spending primary campaign funds looming — McCain has accepted $84 million in public funding for his general election campaign, which begins after the party convention in early-September — Davis suggested we can expect to see a deluge of McCain television ads between now and the end of the month.
We’ve obviously been able to sustain a substantial media buy that started as early as May and has now accumulated over $60 million, probably, in expenditures on television through the end of this month. We feel pretty confident that we have a lot of money to spend in that direction.
In the targeted states, we continue to remain ahead on spending on television [of] Obama. But Obama has selected to prosecute television campaigns in states that won’t add up, so therefore, his gross may be more but he’s occupied in states that otherwise we don’t feel we have a need to.
Finally, Davis said the McCain campaign’s advertising in the aftermath of Obama’s trip abroad late last month — which includes the "Celeb" ad that linked Obama to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears — resulted in an "uptick" of online donations.
You won’t see it in the July results so much, but I think you’ll see it in August, and that is a pretty good uptick in fund-raising. I don’t think it was so much the trip itself…the advertisement that we ran during that period of time after the trip, got more hits on YouTube than any other YouTube video that there was out there…We definitely saw an uptick of Internet receipts, which continues to this day.
Because Obama did not accept federal funding for his general election campaign, he will not be held to the post-convention spending limits that McCain will face. With the McCain campaign combining with the RNC to take in about $53 million last month — and the RNC set to take over fund-raising operations after the convention — Obama may be facing a more formidable fund-raising machine than previously thought.