Bush Dead Last in Online Fundraising

Republican presidential hopeful and Texas Governor George W. Bush has shattered traditional fundraising records, but is reportedly dead last with online contributions.

Bush’s GOP rival, Arizona Senator John McCain, and Democrats Al Gore and Bill Bradley have reaped major campaign donations through their Web sites, with McCain raising twice as much money online in the first day after winning the New Hampshire primary than Bush has raised via the Web for his entire campaign, according to the Associated Press.

“The Internet is the great equalizer. It’s turned politics on its head,” McCain campaign spokeswoman Nancy Ives told the AP.

New Hampshire Avalanche

The report stated that McCain has gleaned more than $2.5 million (US$) online since the start of the campaign. About half that amount was pledged since his New Hampshire victory last Tuesday. Former Senator Bradley raised more than $1.6 million, and Vice President Gore about $1.1 million.

Bush has raised only $340,000 online even though he has smashed overall campaign fund-raising records by drawing $68 million, the AP said.

As reported earlier by Newsbytes, online contributions are particularly attractive to cash-strapped candidates because almost all are made with credit cards, allowing instant access to funds.

Traditional contributions by check mean that candidates have to wait seven to 10 days to receive the cash.

Federal Matching Funds

The first $250 of individual contributions is matched by a federal fund, meaning that smaller contributions are ultimately doubled when federal funds are factored in.

Candidates must agree to a contribution ceiling to qualify for the matching funds. Bush has opted out, but McCain, Gore and Bradley are eligible. Since most of the money raised over the Internet comes as small donations, that money will be matched dollar for dollar by the fund, meaning that McCain’s total online haul after the New Hampshire primary will be more than $2 million, counting the federal funds, the report said.

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