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Bush campaign raises 84m { October 14 2003 }

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Bush campaign raises $83.9 million, with hefty sum in bank
SHARON THEIMER, Associated Press Writer
Tuesday, October 14, 2003
2003 Associated Press

(10-14) 12:15 PDT WASHINGTON (AP) --

A sugar baron, the House speaker and several lobbyists and business executives are among the volunteer fund-raisers who have helped President Bush raise at least $83.9 million since starting his re-election campaign last spring.

An updated list released Tuesday by the Bush campaign shows the president is getting help from at least 100 "Rangers," a new campaign group whose members raise at least $200,000 each. Another 185 people have attained "Pioneer" status by raising at least $100,000.

New Bush fund-raisers since the 2000 campaign include:

* Jose "Pepe" Fanjul, a Ranger whose family runs the Florida-based Flo-Sun sugar dynasty and has donated to Republicans and Democrats, including former President Clinton. The name of his Fanjul's brother surfaced during Congress' investigation of Clinton's affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky: Clinton was in the Oval Office with Lewinsky, telling her he wanted to end their affair, when he interrupted the conversation to take a phone call from Alfonso Fanjul.

* House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., who has raised at least $200,000 for Bush.

* New Ranger James Klauser, an executive with the Wisconsin Energy utility corporation who previously served as administration secretary to then-Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, now the secretary of Health and Human Services.

* Pioneer Dirk Van Dongen, a lobbyist and president of the National Association of Wholesalers-Distributors. The group currently is pushing Congress to pass legislation limiting product liability for wholesalers and distributors.

Bush, who began his re-election campaign in mid-May, is already halfway to his goal of raising $150 million to $170 million for next year's primary. He faces no Republican challenger as nine Democrats compete for their party's nomination.

Bush began October with about $70 million on hand. His campaign is spending at about half the rate it did in 2000, when he faced primary challengers.

The campaign raised about $49.5 million from July through Sept. 30, bringing his total to $83.9 million. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have a new round of fund-raising events this week, including two in California headlined by Bush that are expected to take in roughly $1.5 million.

Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman declined to say whether Bush would stop holding fund-raisers if he gets to $170 million, but argued that the campaign will need every dollar it gets.

"I think we are likely to face a very strong barrage of soft money from special-interest groups that are already out there" on the Democratic side, Mehlman said.

Democrats, meanwhile, have been trying to figure out how to help their presumptive nominee get through next summer, when that candidate may well be short on cash as Bush has most of his money left to spend.

Democratic Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe has urged his party's hopefuls to consider skipping public financing so the presumptive nominee could keep raising money after the primaries, before the general election fund-raising period starts. The party also is trying to raise about $16 million to spend on the nominee-to-be's behalf.

Much of Bush's money has come from $2,000-per-ticket fund-raisers. In addition, he has raised about $12.5 million this year through direct mail. The campaign's average contribution is about $280, Mehlman said.

Bush has raised about $2.4 million on the Internet, far less than the Democratic money leader, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean.

Fueled largely by online donations, Dean raised about $15 million in the third fund-raising quarter that ended Sept. 30. Dean is considering following Bush's lead and opting out of public financing for the primaries and the $45 million spending limit he would face.

Candidates will detail their latest fund raising in reports to the Federal Election Commission due Wednesday night.

2003 Associated Press

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