Federal Politics

Published — July 9, 2012 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Romney bests Obama donations with help of rich few

Introduction

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Monday said he raised $71 million in June for his re-election campaign, after Republican candidate Mitt Romney reported $106 million during the same period. It was the second consecutive month that Romney collected more cash and underscores the challenge for Obama ahead of November.

The grim news for Obama came as his campaign officials have publicly worried they were on track to lose the money race. Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, in an email to supporters just three days ago, said: “Their gap is getting wider, and if it continues at this pace, it could cost us the election.”

Obama is fighting on two fronts to keep the presidency: On one hand, he faces Romney’s own war chest that pays for campaign operations. On the other, he has to push back against the hundreds of millions of dollars flowing to GOP-aligned “super” political action committees, or PACs, which have aired continual attack ads aimed at Obama and his record.

Indeed, wealthy donors have been instrumental in helping Romney beat Obama. When he broke fundraising records last month, Romney’s campaign praised small-dollar donors it said made it possible. But it was actually a small and often wealthy number of donors responsible, who gave an average of about $2,400 each, according to an Associated Press analysis.

Like Obama, Romney often touts the high percentage of donors who gave less than $250, underscoring the perception that a large, grassroots group of Americans want him in the White House. Romney’s campaign said that about 94 percent of 571,000 donors gave those amounts in June, or about $22 million.

But that leaves a little more than 34,000 responsible for the rest of the $83.8 million, the AP found. That’s about $2,400 on average per person.

Just as first-class passengers pay the bulk of an airline flight’s costs, wealthy donors to Romney and Obama often make the difference for campaigns. Even for Obama, who harnessed the power of small, grassroots donations to help clinch the presidency four years ago, more than two-thirds of his supporters gave $200 or more.

Both men have broad geographic appeal, with contributions from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Discounting small donors would ignore an important measure of support for the candidates, particularly as Romney is gaining on the president in terms of cash left in the bank.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Romney surrogate, said June’s contributions point to an increasing grassroots-fundraising movement that he said is exceeding expectations. “People feel the country is on the wrong track,” Pawlenty said in an interview. “They’re hopeful and excited. And they’re willing to chip in.”

Meanwhile, large contributors — up to the legal limit of $2,500 for the campaign during the primary and another $2,500 during the general election – are vital in an election whose cost might surpass $1 billion.

In May, for example, a month after Romney began raising money with the Republican Party, he raised $76.8 million – more than Obama and Democrats by about $16 million. During that month, only one in six donors accounted for $64.8 million – or 84 percent – of that cash.

The importance of high-dollar donors underscores the more than 100 fundraising events Romney has held since earlier this spring, in tony locales like Park City, Utah; Aspen, Colo.; and the Hamptons. Just this weekend, an evening dinner at the ocean-front Hamptons estate of billionaire industrialist David Koch cost $50,000 per person or $75,000 per couple.

Obama’s campaign hosts glitzy campaign events of its own, more recently at actor George Clooney’s mansion in California. But Romney’s fundraising surge underscores how wealthy donors are creating a financial challenge for Obama – who once assailed the influence of corporate money and super PACs.

Republican-aligned super PACs, including Restore Our Future and American Crossroads, plan to spend hundreds of millions of dollars this election to defeat Obama. While Obama has super PACs working in his favor, they haven’t harnessed the large sums of money that the pro-Romney groups have been able to do so far.

As a result, Obama’s campaign has said repeatedly and publicly that the president could be the first incumbent to be out-raised by his challenger. That message has come lately in the form of online fundraising pleas, asking supporters for small donations – usually $3 – to help push back against Romney.

“We exceeded expectations – more than 706,000 people like you stepped up and pitched in for a grand total of $71 million raised for this campaign and the Democratic Party,” said Ann Marie Habershaw, the Obama campaign’s chief operating officer.

“Bad news? We still got beat,” she said. “Handily.”

___

Associated Press writer Steve Peoples in Southampton, N.Y., contributed reporting.

Follow Jack Gillum on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jackgillum

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Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Trump needs to conduct these activities because the entire MSM media, excluding Fox, is campaigning against him 24/7/365.

Didn’t Monica’s boyfriend’s wife and various criminal enterprises outspend Trump by almost 2-1?

CapitalistRoader
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CapitalistRoader

Why wouldn’t he get an early start on fund raising? Hillary outspent him two-to-one in 2016. The Dem’s are the party of big money. The President knows this and is attempting to get a jump on it. Of course the Dem candidate will outspend him in 2020 so it’s only rational that he starts fund raising now.

George Young
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George Young

Oh brother. We just 8 years of the Campaigner – in – Chief. Where was this journalistic rectal thermometer then. Just another article about 2000 words too long that merely takes another slap at Trump for something he far from initiated.

j stevenson
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j stevenson

The big difference between Trump and all the rest is his refusing to accept funds from lobbyists, so they don’t have the White House access they are used to. These are the donors who buy the presidency and are as pixxed off that he won the election as are the media and the Dems. Lobbyists have never been shut out of the WH and Trump has told them he is not for sale.

jan v
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jan v

all the lobbyists are running all our government agencies and all the career civil servants who know how to run the country have been fired. YOU think this is a good thing ? what a crock…

thomas alessi
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thomas alessi

I am for Trump

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Trump needs to be impeached and tossed in prison. Then have the key thrown away so he will never be free. Then he can see how it feels not to have freedom.

Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Thank you for the usual insightful leftist low IQ Snowflake response.

barney
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hes not imprisoning them hes sending them back to their country chill tf out

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

WHY DONT YOU HAVE FREEDOM?

Tom Larkin
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Tom Larkin

First, something positive. I was happy to learn of empirical information in article. BUT, the article was so slanted against President Trump as to be deemed fake news (“Perhaps Trump just lied.” (Two different issues)). The article mentions that President Trump raised over $67 million, but ended 2018 with $19 million. President Trump spent over $40 million 2016 and 2017. President Trump conducted 57 political rallies. The article notes the hats and T-shirts sold, but NEVER MENTIONS THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS during a mid-term election that lost the House and the number of political rallies in… Read more »

Ted Sirois
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Ted Sirois

At least Trump is getting donations from willing donors. Fresh from his first election, Obama used billions of our children’s tax dollars to save thousands of union jobs in the car industry and bailed out the banks and many Wall Street businesses. This secured his source of reelection funds for his reelection four years later.

South Jersey
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South Jersey

TRUMP 2020; IS AN AMAZINGLY SMART MAN! VERY ORIGINAL & CREATIVE. I AM HAPPY TO HAVE HIS AS POTUS.

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

THIS ARTICLE WAS OBVIOUSLY WRITTEN BY, A TRUMP-HATE-GROUP. THAT FEELS; IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR OWN BRAND NAME. WHEN, IF FACT, IT IS NORMAL! >>>>> THIS IS >>> FAKE NEWS!!! <<<< ie: A PACK-OF-LIES; SPUN INTO; DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER. FOR A SINISTER-AGENDA OF; FASCIST DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST, COUP D'ETAT

David
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David

Are you on some kind of drugs? Writing in caps makes me think that you are grumpy old fart or a uneducated hillbilly.