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Bush's total spending hits $37-million

George W. Bush spent almost $17.3-million between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, far more than any of the other contenders for the Republican nomination, according to reports filed Monday with the Federal Election Commission. Bush already has spent almost as much money _ $37.3-million _ as most of the other candidates will be allowed to spend for their entire campaigns.

Bush is not accepting federal matching funds so he is not bound by spending limits.

On the Democratic side, Vice President Al Gore has raised $29-million, plus $2.9-million to pay legal and accounting costs in the general election. Former Sen. Bill Bradley has raised $27.7-million.

Bradley outspent Gore during the fourth quarter of last year, $10.9-million to $8.7-million. Overall, Gore has spent $23.2-million in his quest for the nomination to Bradley's $19.4-million.

$100-MILLION IN "SOFT MONEY': The two major parties raised about $100-million in unregulated "soft money" from unions, major corporations and wealthy individuals in 1999, according to reports filed Monday.

The Republican National Committee listed $28-million in soft money donations in its annual report Monday, which was the deadline for filing the 1999 year-end reports. The Democratic National Committee had just under $20-million.

Though final figures were not available for the parties' congressional fundraising committees, party officials estimated that these filings would add at least $50-million to the totals.

GOP's Watts to run again

NORMAN, Okla. _ Despite his pledge to serve only three terms, Rep. J.C. Watts Jr. announced Monday that he would run for a fourth term.

Watts, the only black Republican member of Congress, said he believed his constituents like what Congress has accomplished.

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