Monday, September 10, 2012
With $114 million, Obama narrowly out raises Romney in August
By Sam Youngman and Jeff Mason
BOSTON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama's campaign and its Democratic partners raised more than $114 million (71 million pounds) in August, narrowly beating Republican Mitt Romney for the first time in months as the race for the White House enters its final stretch.
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, and fellow Republicans raised more than $111 million in the same month, continuing a string of high-dollar hauls that has equipped him well for the last two months of the presidential campaign.
While Obama shattered every fundraising record in 2008 after the becoming the first presidential candidate to opt out of a federal matching funds system, Romney has outpaced him significantly on the fundraising front this year.
That has added to a cash advantage on the Republican side that is helped by the success of outside groups, or Super PACs, that have spent lavishly in support of the Republican candidate.
The Obama campaign appeared to stumble in July, raising $75 million to Romney's $101 million. That changed in August.
The Democratic incumbent broadened his donor base with more than 317,000 donors who had never given money before, said Obama campaign manager Jim Messina in a statement.
"The key to fighting back against the special interests writing limitless checks to support Mitt Romney is growing our donor base, and we did substantially in the month of August," he said. "That is a critical down payment on the organization we are building across the country - the largest grassroots campaign in history."
Romney maintains an edge as his campaign, the Republican National Committee and state Republican parties reported that together they have about $168.5 million in cash at their disposal.
Before the August report, Romney and the joint Victory Fund he shares with the Republican National Committee already enjoyed a $60 million cash-on-hand advantage over Obama.
Republicans argued over the weekend that Obama had spent nearly $100 million to "poison" voters' views of Romney, but polls show a tight race as evidence that they have withstood the advertising onslaught Obama's campaign launched early in the year.
"This race is a dead heat, even after they have spent over $100 million attacking Mitt Romney with negative ads," one senior Romney adviser said Sunday.
Obama's advisers say they are confident they spent their campaign cash well by seeking to define Romney over the summer months, but the discrepancy in available funds is a top concern.
The average donation the Obama team collected in August was $58 and 98 percent of donations were for $250 or less. It is the first month Obama's campaign and its Democratic partners have broken the $100 million monthly threshold this year.
(Editing by Todd Eastham)