McCain's Florida fundraising in August was double Obama's

Republican John McCain raised twice as much money as Democrat Barack Obama in Florida last month, buoyed by a $619,000 spike over two days following the introduction of his surprise pick for vice president.

McCain's $2 million haul in Florida — which does not include money to party committees or donations of under $200 — bucked the national trend. In a record-setting month, Democrat Barack Obama pulled in $65 million in August, while McCain collected $47 million. Nearly $9 million poured into McCain's campaign over the two days after his Aug. 29 rally with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. The newcomer to national politics has been widely credited with reinvigorating the Republican ticket.

''It's gotten much easier to raise money than it was three months ago, or six months ago, or God forbid one year ago,'' said Tallahassee lobbyist Brian Ballard, who led McCain's fundraising in Florida.

Shortly after Palin was announced, Melbourne Beach homemaker Bobra Cobb sat down at her computer and gave a $200 donation to McCain for picking a proponent of abortion restrictions.

''That's a bedrock issue for me,'' said Cobb, who is 64. "It's not the only issue, but if a candidate is not pro-life, they don't get my vote. I was very relieved that he picked Sarah Palin.''

Obama's fundraising also perked up after the Palin pick. He raised a total of $267,000 on Aug. 30 and 31, bringing his monthly total to just over $1 million. On Friday, Obama raised more than $5.5 million in back-to-back fundraisers at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables and the Miami home of Chris Korge. The event was described by organizers as the biggest fundraiser by a Democratic presidential candidate in Florida.

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