Somewhat conflicting interpretations of the general-election money chase are offered today by Talking Points Memo and Politico. TPM:

In an indication that Dems perhaps can't count on John McCain to be all that underfunded for the general election, McCain was able to raise $22 million in May, his best month yet, and up from $18.5 million raised in April....[W]hile Obama is still quite likely to out-raise McCain over the whole cycle, at this point it's by no means a safe bet that it'll be a truly overwhelming advantage.

Late Update: The latest numbers show that McCain has $31.5 million total cash on hand. In short, money will probably not be a huge problem for him this Fall.


A review of campaign finance data offers not one ounce of good news and barely any hope for the McCain campaign’s ability to compete with Obama’s fundraising prowess.

To make matters worse, Obama’s campaign, which raised $272 million through April for the primary, now is reaching out to Clinton’s fundraisers, who raised another $200 million through April, in an effort to unite forces and bury the historically deep-pocketed Republicans.

Take a look at some of the numbers:

- If each of Obama’s donors gave him a modest $250, he’d have $375 million to spend during the two-month general election sprint. That’s $186 million a month, $47 million a week.

- During the same September to Nov. 4 period, McCain will have about $85 million to spend since he has decided to take taxpayer money to help finance his campaign activities.

Politico's piece was apparently written before McCain's May numbers were released, but I don't think they much alter the situation. $31 million cash on hand sounds pretty impressive, but this is after a month in which McCain devoted a lot of time to fundraising and didn't have to spend much money. Moreover, these things are entirely relative, and while $31 million might be a fine sum under normal circumstances, Obama's historic numbers during the primary suggest cirumstances may be anything but "normal" this time out.

--Christopher Orr