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Bush Breaks $50 Million Mark

Texas Gov. George W. Bush, continuing to smash all campaign fund-raising records, has raised more than $52 million, becoming the first presidential candidate to break the $50 million barrier.

Included in the total is $550,000 from tickets sold to fund-raisers this week, including one scheduled for Saturday in Boston featuring the governor's father, former President Bush.

Bush advisers indicated earlier this month that they expected the governor to beat the $50 million mark by the end of September, the close of the next reporting period for campaign finance information.

Bush already has reached that mark, campaign spokeswoman Mindy Tucker said Tuesday, confirming that Bush had raised $3 million from events over the past month, bringing his total to more than $52 million.

At the end of June, Bush had raised $37 million and had $30 million in the bank. His next report is due to the Federal Election Commission on Oct. 15 and covers the period July 1 through Sept. 30.

Bush's $52 million is more money than any other presidential candidate ever has had to spend on a campaign, even including federal matching funds. Including the federal funds, 1996 Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole had $45 million to spend and President Clinton had $43 million.

With money coming in at such a prolific clip, Bush has said that he would not accept federal funding, which would require his campaign to limit its spending to around $40 million in the primaries. By refusing the federal assistance, Bush can spend as much as he can raise, allowing him to financially compete with publisher Steve Forbes, who also is not accepting federal funds for his largely self-financed campaign.

Last month, Bush became the first presidential candidate to post daily lists of his campaign contributors on the Internet.

Among other Republican presidential candidates, campaign of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., expects to report raising more than $10 million by Sept. 30, including $2 million transferred earlier from his Senate campaign account, and activist Gary Bauer reported that he had raised more than $5 million to date. Other Republicans have declined to disclose their fund-raising totals in advance of Sept. 30, the end of the third quarter.

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