WASHINGTON (AP) – John McCain, riding high off victories in New Hampshire and South Carolina, has raised more than $7 million this month, collecting in three weeks more than he took in during a three-month period last year.
McCain spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker said McCain has expanded his total base of contributors to more than 110,000 donors and raised $3 million online. McCain raised $5.7 million between July 1 and Sept. 30.
The campaign has said McCain also exceeded that period's fundraising during the fourth quarter of 2007, but have not specified a total. Hazelbaker would not say how much money the campaign has on hand and how much of the money raised is exclusively for the primary.
She said the campaign is not actively soliciting contributions for the general election.
The new numbers represent a remarkable turn of fortune for McCain and reflect the success he has had in two of the early primary states. He is now competing in Florida in what is a four-man race with Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee. Polls in the state show him either tied with or slightly behind Romney.
Romney, a multimillionaire, has been putting his own money into the campaign and is the candidate most able to compete financially. Earlier this month, he raised $5 million, but only $1.5 million was for the primary election. That means many of Romney's donors already have contributed the maximum to his primary campaign.
McCain's new money puts him on solid footing compared to Giuliani and Huckabee, who have had to cut back on spending and whose senior staffers are working without pay.
McCain raised at least $1 million in the first week of January before his New Hampshire win. He also has qualified for public matching funds, but could forgo it if he puts together a string of victories that unleashes a surge of donations. McCain has a $3 million line of credit he would have to pay off.
"People are excited about McCain's momentum, and that's translated into a significant bump in our fundraising," Hazelbaker said. "They're rallying to John McCain because they recognize that he's the candidate who will lead the Republican Party to victory in November."
Campaigns must file their end-of-year reports by Jan. 31, but those reports will not reflect fundraising and spending that has occurred during January, when the campaigns have been at some of their most active.