If there was ever a symbol of how vastly different the McCain and Obama campaigns are structured, it came in the form of their June fundraising numbers.
On the one hand, there is the presumptive Democratic nominee, running a campaign based largely on a bevy of small-time donors. As the Campaign Finance Institute noted, a "remarkable 65% ($30.8 million) of Obama's primary election money came in amounts of $200 or less ... more than any candidate has ever received in amounts of $200 or less in a single month."
On the other hand, there is the presumptive Republican nominee, running a campaign dominated by large contributions and an old-hat fundraising crew. "One-third of McCain's money in June came in amounts of $200 or less," reported the Campaign Finance Institute, "and 47% came in amounts of $1000 or more."
The national campaign finance watchdog group, Campaign Money Watch, unearthed perhaps an even more damaging number: there are 124 fundraisers who have now raised money for both President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain." These "bundlers," moreover, "have raised a minimum of $25.95 million for the Arizona Republican."
There are tactical as well as symbolic advantages to Obama's method of raising cash. The Senator not only has a bigger cushion of donors to rely on, he also has to spend less time courting them. In the process of raising over $52 million this past month, relatively few donors maxed out in their contributions.
For McCain, fundraising is a bit more problematic. The pool of contributors is smaller than Obama's and the Arizona Republican has to spend considerable resources tapping into them (hosting fundraisers, sending out direct mail, putting together high-end events, etc...) Since, however, the Senator only has two more months to go before opting into public funds, and since the RNC is picking up much of the slack, the issue may be more about image than process.
"Sen. McCain has been working hard to distance himself from an unpopular president, but he is relying on the same network of big money donors and fundraisers in his run for the White House," said David Donnelly, Director of Campaign Money Watch. "Given that McCain and Bush have both pulled water from the same well, it's hard to see how he would pursue policies other than those that have handsomely rewarded Bush's donors over the past eight years."
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