White House hopeful Obama raised $52 million in June

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama raised $52 million in June, his campaign said on Thursday, a jump from last month and more than double the $22 million raised by his Republican rival John McCain.

Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama arrives to make a foreign policy speech on Iraq and American National Security in Washington, July 15, 2008. REUTERS/Jim Young

The Obama campaign raised the funds with an average donation of $68, a sign of his continued strength among small donors, campaign manager David Plouffe said in an e-mail to supporters. The Obama campaign has $72 million in the bank.

“But more impressive than the number is how you did it,” Plouffe wrote. “Hundreds of thousands of ordinary people contributed to building our campaign for change. Many were first-time donors, giving only what they could afford -- and the average donation was just $68.”

The Democratic National Committee raised more than $22 million in June and had $20 million in cash in the bank -- giving Obama and the party a combined $92 million.

Obama’s June figure was just shy of the Illinois senator’s best fund-raising month, February, when he took in $55 million. His fund-raising slowed to $21.9 million in May, down from just over $30 million in April.

The June figure included $2 million for the general election campaign in November against McCain. The rest must be spent by the end of the Democratic convention in late August, when Obama will formally become the party’s White House nominee.

McCain’s $22 million figure in June represented his best month of fund-raising and his campaign has voiced confidence he can compete financially with Obama.

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By the end of June, the Republican National Committee had nearly $68 million in the bank to help support the Arizona senator in the final push to the November 4 presidential election.

Some political analysts had questioned whether Obama’s fund-raising ability had ebbed, since his monthly numbers had been dropping.

The Illinois senator, who would be the first black U.S. president if elected, has smashed all fund-raising records during the presidential campaign, partly because of his success in using the Internet to bring in contributions from small donors.

He has said he would bypass the public financing system, rejecting $84 million in public funds and the accompanying limits on spending.

Additional reporting by John Whitesides; Editing by Patricia Zengerle