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McCain campaign raises $22 million in June

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican John McCain raised $22 million for his White House bid in June, his best month of fundraising, and his campaign voiced confidence on Thursday he could compete financially with record-setting Democratic rival Barack Obama.

Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain smiles as he addresses a League of United Latin American Citizens conference in Washington, July 8, 2008. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

McCain had $27 million in the bank at the end of June, and 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 against Obama.

The combined fundraising allowed McCain to gain an edge over Obama in spending on television advertisements in battleground states in the last month, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis said.

“We will have significant resources to prosecute a campaign that is very robust,” Davis said.

Obama has not reported his money figures for June, but he had about $43 million in the bank at the end of May. The Democratic National Committee, however, had just $4 million in the bank.

Davis said the RNC’s heavy financial advantage over the DNC, along with the money raised by state party committees, would help cut down Obama’s fundraising edge and put pressure on him to keep up his heavy pace of fundraising.

“We anticipate using those finances to prosecute a vigorous campaign in targeted states that will be on par” with what Obama spends in key states, Davis said.

Obama has smashed all records for presidential fundraising, bringing in $287 million during the course of the campaign. He said last month he would bypass the public financing system, rejecting $84 million in public funds and the accompanying limits on spending.

Obama, an Illinois senator, is the first presidential candidate to opt out of the system in the general election since it was created after the Watergate scandal in the mid-1970s.

McCain will participate, limiting his spending to $84 million from the end of the Republican convention in early September to the election.

Obama’s decision was a vote of confidence in his ability to raise more than $84 million allocated for the general election. But Davis said the brief two-month window between the end of the conventions and the election would help limit Obama’s advantage.

Financial figures are due to be reported to the Federal Election Commission by July 20.

(Editing by Doina Chiacu)

For more about the U.S. political campaign, visit Reuters "Tales from the Trail: 2008" online at blogs.reuters.com/trail08/

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