(Photo: REUTERS/Larry Downing)
The Obama campaign reported on Monday that it raised $114 million in August, just outpacing the Romney campaign's $111 million during the same reporting period. It is the first time in four months that Democrats have pulled in more than the GOP and now they are looking to build on the momentum gained from last week's Democratic National Convention during the campaign's final two months.
Although the numbers are a combination of contributions to the candidate and to their respective parties, Democrats have struggled raising much needed campaign cash over the summer. For example, they only raised $71 million in June compared to the Republicans' $106 million haul.
And despite assumptions made that heavy donors are the driving force to raising so much money, both campaigns report that smaller donors made up over 94 percent of the dollars contributed. The Obama camp noted that 1.1 million people donated in August and that 98 percent of those gave an average contribution of $250 or less. Romney's campaign did not release their total number of contributors but said almost all of their donations were $250 or less.
"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," Jim Messina, Obama campaign manager, said in a statement. "Fueled by contributions from more than 1.1 million Americans donating an average of $58 -- more than 317,000 who had never contributed to the campaign before -- we raised a total of more than $114 million."
Political experts who keep a keen eye on fundraising totals last year predicted that the Obama campaign would be flush with cash and that whoever the GOP nominee would be, they would struggle to raise the funds necessary to compete. However, that has not been the case.
Although the Obama has more cash on hand since they did not have to wage a competitive and costly primary, Romney has racked up impressive fundraising totals over the summer. Still, it is doubtful he will outraise a sitting president.
The goal for the Obama camp is to match the $750 million they raised in 2008 but in order to do so, they will need to have to raise substantial amounts in both September and October. It is doubtful Romney will come close to reaching that amount; nonetheless, campaign advisers feel good about their chances.
"Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are offering bold solutions to our country's problems. That is why we are seeing such tremendous support from donors across the country," Romney's national finance chairman, Spencer Zwick, and Republican National Committee chairman, Reince Priebus, said in a joint statement.
In September 2008, Obama reported raking in $150 million. Analysts will be watching closely to see if he can come close to that amount this year.