President Obama’s Reelection Campaign Is Doing Okay, Money-Wise

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Working the phone. (Pete Souza) Photo: Pete Souza/The White House

Yesterday was March finance report day over at the Federal Election Commission, which means we now know how the Mitt Romney and Barack Obama campaigns did financially post-Super Tuesday. Unsurprisingly, the president’s war chest significantly outweighs that of his presumptive challenger, though the campaign is reportedly lagging behind its internal quotas. Here's the breakdown: 

As of the end of March, Obama for America had $104 million in cash (compared to Romney’s $10 million.) Team Obama raised $46 million that month alone, though they also spent $37.7 million of it. A significant portion of that went right back in to the fund-raising effort. About $3 million was spent on encouraging supporters to chip in via text message, direct mail, and phone calls, along with stuff like credit card fees. $6.7 million was spent on online ads, which, as Politico points out,  is just a little less than what the 2008 campaign spent on digital outreach. (One report predicted that Obama will end up spending $35 million this time around.) It was a slower month for the campaign’s ancillary fund-raisers, which include its joint committees with the DNC. 

 In March the Obama Victory Fund and the Swing State Victory fund both raised $6,823,800 from donors giving $30,800 or more compared to the $10 million they raised in those large sums in February.

For the DNC, it ended March with $24.4 million cash on hand overall versus $4.95 million in debt, with much of that debt owed to telemarketing, direct mail and design and printing firms.

 Still, the committee-based fund-raising has been going fairly well in general, bringing in $150 million total thus far. This is a good thing because, as the Times pointed out today, big-money donors are simply not turning out for the campaign itself like they did in 2008. By contrast, Obama has now raised a total of $196 million compared to the $235 million it had at this time four years ago (though, with no primary battle to fight, he doesn’t have to spend as much now as he did then, either.) As a result, they will have to rely more heavily on grassroots, every-little-bit-counts efforts, like the $3-a-head raffles for dinner with the president (and, more recently, George Clooney) they’ve been trying out. However, there’s a good chance people will feel more compelled to give as November approaches.

 Meanwhile, Romney amassed only $12.6 million in March, though he was still fighting over conservative dollars with Rick Santorum, who has since ceased to be a problem. So far, his campaign has raised $87 million total — a far cry from the $800 million the campaign hopes to bring in alongside the Republican National Committee. However, the Romney people don’t seem to be worried about cash, as the formidable Republican super-PAC machine prepares to kick into high-gear. The pro-Romney Restoring Our Future brought in $8.7 million in March, thanks largely to big gifts from people like William “The Other Koch Brother” Koch, hedge-fund manager Ken “Insufficient Influence” Griffin, and billionaire David Simmons, all of whom are repeat givers. And Romney himself is always in a position to write a check.