Latest figures show Obama campaign war chest approaching $1 billion
Both Romney and Obama campaigns are raising hundreds of millions of dollars. But Obama's surge in fund raising is approaching new records, largely through small, grass-roots donations.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
Early in the presidential campaign, there was talk of President Obama raising and spending $1 billion on his re-election effort. With the latest report and a month still to go as the hotly-contest race accelerates toward Election Day, it looks like heâ€™ll easily make that figure.
â€śSome amazing news this morning: 1,825,813 people came together to raise $181 million for this campaign in September,â€ť Obama tweeted Saturday as the campaign released its figures for last month.
That brings the Obama campaignâ€™s total fund raising to $947 million â€“ well on the way to passing the billion-dollar mark and the 2008 total.
The $181 million, raised by the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee, was far more than the $114 million raised in August and nearly as much as the record monthly amount collected in September 2008 ($193 million).
â€śIt's a record-breaking sum that far exceeds anything Obama or Mitt Romney has previously raised in a given month, and is a sign of Obama's expansive liberal donor base reengaging in a big way for the final month of the race,â€ť writes Alexander Burns at Politico.com.
Itâ€™s also a sign that the Democratic National Convention in early September â€“ especially the speeches by first lady Michelle Obama and former president Bill Clinton â€“ energized donors as well as delegates.
Contributions have come from more than a half-million people who had never given to Obamaâ€™s presidential campaigns (either in 2008 or in 2012), campaign officials reported. The average contribution has been $53, and all but two percent were $250 or less. In all, the campaign claims to have collected more than 10 million individual donations â€“ an effort campaign manager Jim Messina in an e-mail to supporters called â€śa historic record for grass-roots politics.â€ť
In general, the Obama campaign gets most of its donations from individuals limited to $2,500, the Romney campaign more heavily from â€śSuper PACsâ€ť with no upper limit.
As of Sept. 21, according to a Washington Post tally, Obama had raised $441 million from individuals and $44 million from Super PACs; Romney had raised $284 million from individuals and $145 million from Super PACs. The DNC and the RNC had raised $233 million and $283 million respectively.
â€śObama has raised nearly half his money through small donations with aggressive solicitation programs targeting e-mail, social media, and cell phone texting services,â€ť the Washington Post reports.
Obamaâ€™s listless debate performance Wednesday night â€“ dispiriting to many Democrats â€“ was followed Friday by September jobs numbers showing a symbolically-important drop in unemployment from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent. The election is just one month from today, and the weekâ€™s two major news stories seem likely to galvanize the incumbentâ€™s campaign.
"The jobs numbers and the campaign-finance numbers will take Democrats out of group therapy and keep them focused on the urgent task ahead of re-electing the president," Robert Zimmerman, a New York-based Democratic National Committee member and an Obama fundraiser, told the Wall Street Journal Saturday.
Although it has not yet released its September fund raising figures, Mitt Romneyâ€™s campaign says itâ€™s seeing a surge in contributions following Wednesday nightâ€™s presidential debate, which analysts universally saw as a big win for Romney.Â Friday, the campaign boasted of $12 million in new online donations generated by the debate.
Given the tightness of the race â€“ early post-debate polls show Romney closing the gap and in some states moving past Obama â€“ the Obama campaign is urging supporters to dig deeper.
â€śThere is exactly one month left to go until Election Day,â€ť Messina wrote in his e-mail. â€śThe stakes are too high for us to take our foot off the gas now. Chip in â€¦ and letâ€™s go win.â€ť