President Bush ended January with nearly $9 million in cash in his campaign treasury, vastly more than the resources then available to his rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Patrick J. Buchanan, according to reports filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission.
On the Democratic side, the campaign finance reports showed that Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton was able to out-raise his rivals by a large margin in January despite unsubstantiated allegations of marital infidelity that rocked his campaign. During the month, Clinton actually raised slightly more than Bush--$1,597,244 versus $1,589,113.
Clinton ended January with $1.4 million on hand. By contrast, former Massachusetts Sen. Paul E. Tsongas ended the month with only $80,195 on hand and reported raising only $321,000 in January.
Despite his financial disadvantages as of Jan. 31, Tsongas won Tuesday's Democratic primary in New Hampshire, whereas Clinton, whose campaign was further hurt in early February by questions about his Vietnam-era draft status, finished second. Tsongas' aides say the campaign's fund raising has picked up substantially since early February and they expect his New Hampshire victory to continue that trend. As an example, they say he raised about $250,000 at three New York events Wednesday night.
Still, the latest FEC reports identify some of the key financial factors that should affect the battles for the nominations.
Buchanan was able to raise money at a healthy clip in January--bringing in slightly more than $1 million during the month, campaign treasurer Scott Mackenzie said. Nonetheless, the FEC reports make clear the huge financial advantage the President enjoys as he seeks to squash the conservative commentator's candidacy. As of Jan. 31, Buchanan had less than $20,000 available in his campaign treasury, said Mackenzie, who provided The Times with information from the candidate's report.
As with Tsongas, Buchanan aides expect his fund raising to be aided by his surprisingly strong showing in New Hampshire--Bush triumphed over him by only 16 percentage points. But Bush's huge money edge will allow him to overwhelm Buchanan in spending in future primary contests if the President's campaign team chooses to do so.
Two other Democratic candidates--Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin and Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey--likely are nearly broke as a result of heavy spending in New Hampshire and slow-paced fund raising, the FEC reports indicate.
In January, Harkin raised only $312,000; Kerrey, $550,000.
As of Jan. 31, Kerrey had $114,780 on hand and Harkin had $248,427. Those figures might suggest that Harkin is in better shape than Kerrey for the expected fight between the two Midwesterners shaping up in South Dakota, which holds its primary next Tuesday. But because the reports only cover spending through the end of January, they do not take into account Harkin's heavy advertising in New Hampshire during the last three weeks.
Kerrey spent about $800,000 on New Hampshire television ads, whereas Harkin spent about $600,000, according to stations serving the state's market. But Harkin spent the bulk of his money in a late blitz, and much of Kerrey's spending is covered by the January report. As a result, the two likely finished the New Hampshire race in a comparable condition.
The low-budget campaign of former Gov. Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr., who takes no contributions greater than $100, raised $190,000 in January.
Common Cause, a political watchdog group, reported that Republican-sponsored fund-raisers in 1991 collected $16.97 million in large contributions from major corporate and individual donors, and the Democrat-sponsored fund-raisers collected $7.12 million in such funds. The contributions are known as "soft money" because they are not covered by federal rules that limit the size of contributions.
Among the top corporate donors to the Republican Party and its Senate and congressional fund-raising arms were Archer Daniels Midland Corp., the agricultural products giant, with $500,000, and American Financial Corp., a Cincinnati-based conglomerate, with $495,000, Common Cause said.
Top individual donations to the GOP include $200,000 from Edgar Bronfman, chief executive officer of Seagram & Sons, and $125,000 from Sam Bamieh, chairman of the American Intertrade Group, the watchdog group said.
Large donations to the Democrats included $369,000 from the United Steelworkers of America; $300,000 from Alida Rockefeller Messinger, daughter of John D. Rockefeller III; $200,000 from Chicago commodities trader Richard J. Dennis; $150,000 from the Sheet Metal Workers International union and $137,730 from Lew R. Wasserman, chairman of entertainment giant MCA Inc.
The Money Race
Cash on hand provides a key measure of a political campaign's strength. Campaigns with substantial cash reserves have the flexibility to move resources to meet emergencies, but cash-poor campaigns must hope that few surprises emerge. Finance reports filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission show cash reserves as of Jan. 31 for the major presidential candidates. The reports do not take into account last-minute spending before last Tuesday's new Hampshire primary. Republicans: George Bush: $8,866,629 (Cash on hand, Jan. 31) Patrick J. Buchanan: *Under $20,000 (Cash on hand, Jan. 31) Democrats: Edmund G. Brown Jr.: $67,000 (Cash on hand, Jan. 31) Bill Clinton: $1,403,425 (Cash on hand, Jan. 31) Tom Harkin: $248,427 (Cash on hand, Jan. 31) Bob Kerrey: $114,780 (Cash on hand, Jan. 31) Paul E. Tsongas: $80,195 (Cash on hand, Jan. 31) *estimate
Source: Federal Election Commission