Obama fundraising lags

Wealthy, repeat donors put GOP super PACs well ahead

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign spent more than it raised in June, illustrating both the fierce pace of campaigning during the month and his slightly weaker fundraising position, finance reports filed Friday show.

In a month when Obama was trying to answer a heavy barrage of advertising by outside “super” political groups supporting Republican rival Mitt Romney, his campaign spent $38.2 million buying television advertising time. Romney spent less than a third of that – $10.4 million – on TV time.

At the same time, Romney’s campaign nearly doubled its spending in June compared to the previous month, underscoring the close proximity of the November general election in which Republicans hope to unseat Obama and, in part, dismantle the president’s signature health care overhaul.

Much of Romney’s financial advantage – he raised $106 million last month with the help of the Republican Party – came from larger donations in a handful of battleground states. Those included Florida, where the Romney Victory Fund pulled in about $4.4 million in individual contributions, records show.

Competing fiercely to keep the presidency, Obama reported more than $46 million in June and total spending of $58 million. The campaign, however, also listed more than $97.5 million in the bank going into July, and the Democratic Party reported $37.5 million in the bank.

Romney, during the same period, reported receipts of $33 million and spending of $27.5 million for June. The challenger’s cash on hand was almost a mirror image of Obama’s and the DNC’s, as Romney reported $22.5 million in the bank and the Republican National Committee said it had $89.4 million.

All told, June was the second consecutive month in which Romney surpassed Obama in fundraising. Romney’s money advantage prompted Obama’s campaign advisers to publicly warn the president could lose the election if the financial disparity continued earlier this month.

Romney retains a vast advantage overall when super PACs working in the former Massachusetts governor’s favor are factored in. Groups like American Crossroads and Restore Our Future have already spent tens of millions of dollars on pricey television ads to either attack Obama or specifically promote Romney’s candidacy.

Wealthy, repeat donors are helping independent Republican groups maintain their financial strength. They include casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, who donated a combined $10 million last month; and Texas homebuilder Bob Perry, one of the largest GOP super PAC donors, who gave another $2 million on June 1.

For Obama’s part, a handful of super PACs helping his re-election pulled in a combined $25 million in June. Those contributions included a $1 million contribution to Priorities USA Action from actor Morgan Freeman, who joined a list of Hollywood figures like Steven Spielberg helping Obama secure a second term.

Beyond the dollar amounts, the president’s campaign released an updated list of big-dollar fundraisers, known as “bundlers,” who have collected at least $50,000 toward his re-election. Obama named 638 bundlers, adding 106 more to his total earlier this year. Romney does not list his bundlers, even though he has received repeated calls during the campaign to release them.

Both candidates enjoyed a wide swath of contributions from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, although Romney’s financial reports listed higher dollar amounts in key battleground states like Florida, Michigan and New Hampshire. Meanwhile, Obama tends to receive more contributions dollarwise from donors who give less than $200; such small amounts do not have to be reported to the Federal Election Commission.

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