LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) – Money matters in politics, and Sen. John McCain insists his campaign is refilling its coffers after spending itself almost broke in the first half of this year.
“The money is coming in fine,” the Arizona senator told CNN in an interview Wednesday.
Insiders, however, say September is a key month after modest progress in July and August.
The McCain campaign raised about $2 million in July and spent about $1.4 million, according to sources familiar with the fund-raising operation who spoke to CNN on the condition of anonymity. In August, the campaign raised about $1.1 million and spent about $1.4 million, these sources said, leaving a little wiggle room for the final few days of the month.
Bottom line: raising about $3.1 million and spending $2.8 million in the two months since a major campaign re-organization. McCain’s September is packed with fund-raising events. The campaign also recently brought on former Commerce Secretary Robert Mosbacher, a prodigious fund-raiser, years ago, for George H. W. Bush, and hopes his Rolodex provides some new prospects for the McCain fund-raising machine.
McCain could get a much-needed cash infusion if he decides to accept federal matching funds. But opting into that system – and its spending limits – could hurt big-time in the long term because his major rivals are not accepting the federal funds and therefore not subject to spending restrictions.
“If we make that decision, and I guess we’ll have to fairly soon,” McCain told CNN.
“I’ve never won a campaign on the basis of money,” he said. “I won campaigns because I can out-campaign everyone else, and I can do that in the nomination [contest]…. So it’s not going to be money that wins or loses any campaign of mine.”
– CNN Chief National Correspondent John King