[Guest post by DRJ]
The Politico reports that John McCain is expected to accept federal funds to finance his general election campaign:
“John McCain is abandoning any hope of catching the Democrats in fundraising.
Based on new financial disclosure reports released Sunday, and interviews with his finance team, the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee will instead accept taxpayer money to finance his general election and share other costs with the Republican National Committee.
The strategy will allow McCain to stretch his campaign dollars by splitting the cost of television advertising and other campaign activity with the RNC.
But the decision also puts the Arizona senator at risk of being badly outspent – even with RNC help – by a Democratic nominee who will be allowed to spend as much as he or she can raise on the November race.
McCain has raised a total of $72 million for his presidential bid, including $15 million in March. He ended last month with about $11.5 million in cash.
In contrast, Democrat Barack Obama has raised more than $236 million for his campaign. He raised nearly $43 million in March and ended the month with $51 million in cash and no debts.”
It’s ironic, isn’t it, that McCain has championed the benefits of regulation and now he’s feeling the pinch? However, he will receive approximately $84M in federal funds plus joint campaign expenditures with the RNC:
“Under the program, McCain will be eligible to receive $84.1 million from the national treasury to run his campaign between his official nomination at the September Republican convention in Minnesota and Election Day.
Between now and then, McCain needs only to raise enough money to travel and keep his profile high enough not to be forgotten while the Democrats continue to battle one another. If a Democratic nominee emerges with enough time to launch an attack against McCain, a handful of well financed, Republican-friendly outside groups stand ready to quickly come to his aid.
McCain also can spend his summer headlining joint events to help raise money for the RNC, which can allocate millions to boosting his candidacy. The RNC on Sunday reported having $31 million in cash, compared to just $5 million in the Democratic National Committee’s account.
By directing donations to the RNC, money also can be raised in bigger chunks. The maximum donation to the RNC is $28,500; the biggest allowable donation to the McCain campaign for the general election would have been $2,300.”
Money talks in elections and this puts McCain at a disadvantage. It will be interesting to see how well the RNC does in fundraising this summer.
I think McCain’s fundraising problems are due in part to his late start in organizing but it’s also an indication of how conservatives view McCain. For now, conservatives may reluctantly give him their votes … but not their money.