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Rudy Giuliani emerged as the winner in the Republican presidential money contest this quarter, raising more and spending less than both of his leading rivals. Mitt Romney tapped his personal wealth for a $6.5 million loan and John McCain’s campaign was seriously considering public financing to revive his all-but-broke presidential bid.
As the campaigns head into a new round of fundraising and spending, Giuliani has about $15 million in the bank for the primary contests, Romney has $12 million and McCain has just $2 million.
For Romney, whose assets are estimated at between $190 million and $250 million, one of every $5 of his revenue has come from his personal wealth.
Romney increased his number of donors by nearly 50,000 for a total of more than 80,000 for the year so far. McCain reported a total number of contributors of 72,000 for the first six months. The Giuliani campaign said he doubled his number of donors this quarter, bringing his total to about 56,000.
Key fundraising numbers:
Combined, the leading three Republicans raised roughly $42 million in primary and general election money in the second quarter, a sum dwarfed by the $68 million top Democratic candidates — Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards — brought in over the same period.
Giuliani campaign manager Michael DuHaime applauded the efficiency of the former New York mayor’s campaign.
“We are serious about being good stewards with the money that has been entrusted to us,” he said in a statement.
Giuliani was the only one of the three to see an increase in his fundraising and appeared to rely on large dollar donors. He remains in the lead in most national polls, though Romney has taken a lead in surveys in Iowa and has a slight advantage in New Hampshire.
“We’re obviously competitive with Mayor Giuliani,” Romney said while campaigning in Creston, Iowa. “We’re very much in the game here and we’ll both have the money we need to run a very successful primary campaign.”
Still, their fundraising weakened, Romney and McCain were forced to take steps that they had once vowed to avoid.
In January, Romney, who made his millions as a venture capitalist, said “it would be akin to a nightmare” if he donated to his campaign, although he reserved that right.
On Tuesday, Romney said his intent was “to contribute just as other people are contributing.”
As Giuliani and Romney released their fundraising totals, McCain’s campaign settled into its new reality with dozens of fewer staffers, a narrower strategy focused on early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina and a serious look at accepting public financing and all its limitations on spending.
The Arizona senator blew through roughly $24 million over six months without spending a dime on what is typically the most costly expenditure — television advertising. While the details of McCain’s spending won’t be known in full until July 15, payroll, consultants, fundraising and travel command a large part of a presidential campaign’s budget.
Federal Election Commission records show McCain spent $1.6 million on salaries in the first three months of the year, and officials say that despite an early round of staff cuts, that level remained roughly the same in the second quarter. At the same time, the figure isn’t an accurate gauge of just how much the campaign spent on personnel because it doesn’t take into account equipment, overhead and other costs associated with each staffer.
McCain paid heavily for finance operations, including direct mail, phone banks and events aimed at raising money. He also hired finance consultants in several states, as well as general consultants.
Another major expense: the candidate’s travel costs. McCain has abided by proposed Senate ethics rules, refusing to fly in corporate jets at discounted rates, paying full air charter fares as he maintained a full schedule of cross-country travel. Romney and Giuliani, not bound by the Senate rules, do fly on corporate jets and pay lower rates that are equivalent to commercial first-class fares.
On Monday, McCain’s campaign moved to restructure itself, laying off staff, cutting salaries and paring down its organization across the board.
In looking to accept public financing, the McCain campaign will have to live with some strict spending limits that have bedeviled past presidential campaigns.
A candidate who accepts public financing could get up to $22 million in taxpayer money. But he would face spending limits in each state with a caucus or a primary. This year, that limit would be about $1.5 million in Iowa and $820,000 in New Hampshire.
The limits are flexible, however. Television ads that contain a fundraising solicitation could count as a national fundraising expense. Ads aired in Massachusetts or Vermont stations but viewed in New Hampshire don’t count toward the New Hampshire limits.
GOP strategist Charlie Black, who is backing McCain, said McCain does not need to spend as much money in early primaries as Romney and Giuliani.
“He’s totally known to all the voters,” he said. “He does have a knack for being a very effective campaigner who gets a lot of press coverage.”
More significantly, Black said, is that McCain would be limited to spending about $50 million for the entire primary contest, up to the Republican National convention in early September.
“If you get nominated, then you have to go from February … until September without having hardly anything to spend,” he said. “It’s possible to do, but it becomes difficult.”
Associated Press writers Liz Sidoti in Washington and Amy Lorentzen in Iowa contributed to this report.