The John McCain campaign scheduled a press conference call for this morning to discuss fundraising.  The invitation came at short notice, and I assumed it would cover their fundraising numbers for July.  Calling a press conference to announce it indicated that they either had good news, or needed to explain bad news.

Brian Rogers introduced Rick Davis for the update.  Davis called the summer “pretty exciting”, and they’re thrilled to be in a competitive position nationally and state-by-state.  He predicted that the general election would be one of the most intense ever, especially given the late dates of the convention.

Davis said the campaign is entering the convention in a strong position.  They feel that they are consolidating the party base, and are competing well for both independents and disaffected Democrats.  Davis then moved to July’s numbers.  Next week, they will file with the FEC numbers that exceeded $27 million, a rather impressive increase over June.  They now have 600,000 individual donors, and combined with the RNC, over 1.5 million.  They have to spend it all by the end of the month.

Cash on hand looked good, too.  They had $21.4 million at the end of July, which means that they have plenty of capital on hand to be aggressive before the convention.  The RNC raised almost $26 million in July with over $70 million cash-on-hand.  Conbined with state funds, the GOP has more than $100 million cash in the bank at this stage, and feel as though Republicans are in a very strong position.

Questions:

  • Would a pro-choice running mate “de-consolidate” the base? — Not going to speculate on running-mate selections.
  • Five consecutive months of growth?  Yes.
  • Do you still have work to do in consolidating the base? — Yes, we have to constantly pay attention to the base.  The McCain campaign has to work on generating enthusiasm consistently.  They are seeing a significant uptick in activity — and the recent ads poking at Obama’s celebrity have helped.
  • Did the Obama World Tour help or hurt the fundraising? — More in August than July, it resulted in a considerable surge in Internet donations.  The YouTube ads helped McCain make the case that Obama was more about celebrity than leadership.  That surge continues to this day.  Davis says that the mail fundraising is exceptionally strong, but this gave the McCain a good inroad into what would normally be Obama territory.