McCain, Obama close in money race

But /*John McCain*/ was not there.

And it is interesting to note that Napa's Republican Party chairwoman also ducked out. She told the Napa Valley Register she had a previous commitment to attend a fundraiser for El Centro Assemblywoman Bonnie Garcia. That shows remarkable loyalty to the assemblywoman, or perhaps it is a reflection of the President's 28 percent approval rating.

The president's visit to Napa could raise close to $1 million for the Republican National Committee; and in the money race between Sens. John McCain and /*Barack Obama*/ Republican National Committee funds area big factor.

Last month McCain raised $22 million, his best month ever. And Obama raised $52 million, which appears as if he is killing McCain. But McCain did not have to spend nearly as much on his primary, and he is getting a lot of help from the Republican National Committee.

The maximum amount a person can give to each of the party committees is $28,500.

"So for quite a while John McCain has been raising those big dollar checks through the Republican National Committee," Obama's California Finance co-chair John Roos said.

McCain has received so much help that when the amounts of money from the campaigns and their respective parties are combined, Republicans are ahead.Obama and the Democratic National Committee have a total of $90 million; McCain and the Republican National Committee have $95 million.

ABC7 political analyst Bruce Cain said it is necessary to count contributions from both the candidate and his party.

"Otherwise it'll look like Barack Obama has much more money than John McCain when in reality, it'll be much more even when you count the outside forces," Cain said.

Professor Cain expects that as long as McCain stays competitive in the polls the total amounts raised by both sides will remain close.

As for a Republican president venturing into Napa, where Democratic contributions have far outstripped contributions to the Republican Party; this past Sunday Obama ventured into largely Republican Orange County and walked away with $1 million in contributions.

"When it comes to fundraising, we're not leaving any stone unturned," Roos said.

When asked why McCain was not traveling with the president to the fundraiser that is being held on his behalf, a spokesperson for the campaign said the candidate is in Kansas and that his absence is of no particular significance.

But Cain said there is plenty of significance to McCain's absence.

"They want the best of both worlds," Cain said. "They want the president's ability to raise money from hardcore Republicans without the public association of John McCain with a very unpopular political figure."

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