Bill Bradley, his Democratic presidential campaign surging, raised more money than Vice President Al Gore over the last three months, and has more money in the bank heading into the final quarter of the year.
Bradley raised an estimated $6.7 million between July and September, spokeswoman Anita Dunn said Thursday. Gore raised around $6.5 million during the same period, according to senior advisers who spoke on condition of anonymity.
By spending less than $4.2 million during the last three months, Bradley wound up with more than $10 million in the bank. Gore aides said the vice president would have between $9.5 million and $10 million. Gore spent about $6 million between July and September, almost as much as he raised.
Bradley's fund-raising figures show that he will have enough money to financially compete with Gore throughout the primary season. It also means that the eventual nominee, whether it be Gore or Bradley, may run up against the federal spending limits months before the party's convention, and have little to spend to defend against Republican attacks.
Meanwhile, Gore, seeking to rejuvenate his campaign, announced Wednesday that he was moving his headquarters from Washington to Nashville, Tenn., and challenging Bradley to a series of debates. He called the move "an opportunity for transformation."
He acknowledged, "This is a hard, tough fight."
Bradley has been gaining on Gore in key early primary states.
Since entering the race, Bradley has raised around $18.4 million, including more than $650,000 over the Internet.
"It shows that the campaign continues to enjoy steady growth and support," Dunn said. "In particular, we're excited about the number of small donors, both through our Internet site and through the mail."
Campaigns are required to report to the Federal Election Commission by Oct. 15 how much money they have raised and spent since July 1.
Republican front-runner George W. Bush has raised more than $53 million, including more than $16 million between July and September. The figure excludes money raised through direct mail solicitations and from people who contribute on their own.
Among other Republicans, Gary Bauer reported raising around $2 million between July and September, increasing his fund-raising total to about $5.4 million. Elizabeth Dole's campaign expects to report that her total for the year also had topped $5 million.
The campaign of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., reported Thursday that it had raised $3 million during the last three months, bringing its total to $7 million, plus $2 million transferred from his Senate campaign committee. And Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, reported raising $1.2 million through Thursday.
To date, the Gore campaign has raised $24 million and spent $14 million. Because he is accepting federal funds for the campaign, Gore is limited as to how much he can spend during the primay season to about $40 million, plus legal and accounting costs.
His early spending has raised concerns that, if he secures the Democratic nomination, he will press up against the limits and be unable to respond to Bush, who is not accepting federal funds and can spend as much as he can raise. In 1996, Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole hit the spending cap months before the national conventions and could not answer millions of dollars in advertising by the Clinton-Gore campaign.
Gore advisers said the campaign has been spending heavily on fund raising, including direct mail, and has hired dozens of staffers in Iowa, New Hampshire, New York and California.
"Looking down the road, unless he makes changes, he could be in the position Dole was in 1996, essentially being unable to spend money with months left before the conventions, facing an opponent with plenty of money left to spend," said Anthony Corrado, a professor of government at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. "They have to get leaner in their spending."
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