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Kerry takes out loan for White House campaign

Kerry aides said further personal financial moves might be forthcoming.
Kerry aides said further personal financial moves might be forthcoming.

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry has taken out an $850,000 loan for his campaign and will mortgage his family home in Boston to raise more cash for the race's stretch drive, officials said Thursday.

The Massachusetts senator, a one-time favorite who has fallen behind front-runner Howard Dean ahead of the crucial January 27 New Hampshire primary, joined the former Vermont governor last month in opting out of the public financing system for the 2004 presidential primaries.

That allowed him to bypass the spending limits that come with taxpayer-financed funds and spend an unlimited amount of cash in his bid to challenge President Bush in November.

Kerry said last month he was forced to abandon the system to keep pace with Dean, adding he did not believe in "unilateral disarmament." He said he was willing to tap his personal assets and aides said at the time he would take out loans for some of the campaign costs.

"This is a clear statement by John Kerry -- he is in the race to win the nomination and defeat George Bush," Mary Beth Cahill, Kerry's campaign manager, said in a statement.

Kerry raised more than $20 million for his campaign by the end of September, the last reporting deadline, putting him second in the nine-strong Democratic field behind Dean's more than $25 million.

Under federal election law, Kerry can spend his own money on the campaign and tap into a portion of the sizable personal fortune he shares with his wife, heiress Teresa Heinz Kerry, but cannot use money held only by her.

Heinz inherited a fortune worth about $500 million when her first husband, John Heinz, a Republican senator from Pennsylvania and heir to the Heinz ketchup fortune, died.

More personal financial moves might be coming down the line, Kerry aides said.

"Senator Kerry will keep all his options open under the law on further funding of the campaign," Cahill said.

Bush has already declined to take public funds for the primaries and has raised more than $100 million for his unopposed dash to the Republican nomination, breaking all fund-raising records.



Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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