Remember when the Obama campaign boasted they would raise a billion dollars for reelection? Yah, me to. Well turns out the Obama money machine is turning out to not even be a match for the Romney money-machine. Having locked up the primary Romney is now using the summer lull before the Convention to ramp up his fundraising. It shows.
In April even as Romney was in the midst of wrapping up the GOP primary he raised a combined $40 million. The Obama campaign and DNC, not shackled with a primary to win raised $44 million that month. The closeness of the totals even as the GOP primary waged on raise a few eyebrows.
Well those eyebrows now have to be raised further as the Romney campaign, now fundraising jointly with the RNC, raised a whopping $76.8 million in the month of May. By contrast the Obama campaign and DNC only raised $60 million. Both the Romney campaign and the Obama campaigns have not yet reported how much cash they have on hand.
The Obama campaign since last year has had the luxury of raising jointly with the DNC. Romney only recently started raising money jointly with the RNC in the middle of April. RNC Chairman Rence Preibus wanted to see how the GOP presidential primary played out before he had the RNC specifically fund raise with any of the candidates.
The Obama campaign’s advantage has allowed them to continue to maintain far more cash in the bank then Romney even after the May fundraising hauls. But the Obama campaign has been burning through cash at an unprecedented rate. The high burn rate can be attributed to the Obama campaign trying to rebuild their volunteer and donor bases as well as hit the internet with ads.
Recently the Obama campaign spent $25 million on a massive ad buy in several battleground states. The result was less then stellar. Obama’a approval did not move. Many pundits and analysts attributed the massive ad buy this early in the cycle to Obama’s campaign realizing how precarious a position they occupy.
Throughout the early months of this year the Romney campaign, always the front runner in the GOP nomination contest, consistently struggled to raise large sums of cash. While a few wealthy GOP donors picked their candidates in the primary contest far more sat out until they had a nominee. The sudden boost in Romney’s fundraising numbers shows these donors are fully willing to go all in for the GOP now that they have a nominee.
Any incumbent president has built in advantages in a reelection. None may be bigger then having an existing donor base to work from. The Obama campaign has boasted it has the most extensive fundraising list in history thanks to 2008. While that may be true an independent analysis found that many of those donors have not given to the campaign or given as much as they did up to this point in 2008.
Many of the largest donors to the Obama campaign have also been giving less then individual donors. The oil and banking lobbies totals are far below where they were at this point in 2008.
It is no secret the Obama campaign has angered many of the businesses and donors that gave to the then candidate in 2008. Onerous regulations on coal and oil companies, financial reform and pressure on the banking sector, and multiple regulations in Healthcare Reform have made many of these businesses and donors flock to Romney’s campaign. Romney is only to eager to have their dollars.
Combined with the 2010 Citizens United ruling that freed up third party groups and Super PACs to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, many which are GOP affiliated, money is not going to be an issue for the Romney campaign. These third party groups and Super PACs are also sure to spend mightily to get down-ballot Republicans elected as well all across the country.
Romney’s campaign has shown in the last two months that they will have the money to compete with the Obama campaign on the money front. Recent events also shed light on why GOP donors are sure to give heavily to ensure a Romney victory. In Wisconsin Scott Walker beat back a recall effort to oust him and significantly weakened a core constituency of the Democratic party. Walker, along with help from outside groups outspent his opponent several times over (depending on who you read). In Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels with help from GOP donors who got him reelected in 2010 and gave him a solidly Republican legislature passed right to work legislation.
All this adds up to ensuring Mitt Romney will be able to compete, if not best, the Obama campaign on the money front.