It seems that the most profligate president in history can’t manage his campaign finances any better than he can the nation’s.
Well, not really. But the president’s campaign spent more than it took in during June which seems a proper metaphor for his entire term in office.
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 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.
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 trying to help Obama secure a second term.
Obviously, the president doesn’t keep the books of his campaign and he makes few decisions about where money is to be spent. And he still has $97 million in cash on hand so he’s hardly hurting despite the deficit spending in June.
But on a practical level, 6 months ago we were talking about the president raising a billion dollars for his campaign. Now he will be hard pressed to raise the $750 million he took in during the 2008 election cycle. The president is still raising more in direct contributions to his campaign — $46 million to $33 million — which is worrisome for Romney, but not a big issue this far out from the election.
The Hill details some of Obama’s problems:
The president spent $58.1 million in June despite bringing in just $45.9 million, meaning his reelection effort ran a deficit of more than $12 million dollars for the month. And the president spent an whopping $32.2 million in television ads, along with $4.5 million in online ads, over the 30-day period. The Romney campaign, by contrast, spent $10.4 million over that period on advertisements.
The president’s spending reduced his campaign’s available cash-on-hand to $97.5 million at the beginning of July. The Romney campaign opened the month with $22.5 million cash on hand, a discrepancy largely explained by the spending — and fundraising uncertainties — of the contested Republican primary. A look at the combined cash-on-hand of Romney and the RNC compared to Obama and the DNC shows the Republicans with a $25 million advantage.
That advantage promises to grow in the coming months as Super Pacs ramp up their efforts to full and Romney continues to tap the motherlode of anti-Obama sentiment in the country.