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Romney outraised Obama in May, $76.8 million to $60 million

at 09:02 AM ET, 06/07/2012

Mitt Romney’s campaign and the Republican National Committee significantly outraised President Obama’s reelection effort in May, pulling in $76.8 million to $60 million, according to the respective campaigns.

Both months are the best of the cycle for each candidate and reflect a ramping up with Romney’s status as the all-but-official GOP nominee and Obama’s boost in fundraising from both the gay community and a reported $15 million fundraiser hosted by actor George Clooney.

But Romney’s advantage reflects the reality that Republicans can quickly close the fundraising gap now that their primary is wrapped up. GOP super PACs have already been far outraising their Democratic counterparts, and the combination of that and the uptick in Romney’s fundraising is expected to lead to something close to a level financial playing field heading into November’s general election.

The campaigns have yet to officially file their fundraising reports, which aren’t due until May 20, so full details weren’t available Thursday morning.

What we do know is that the totals represent both money raised for the respective candidates’ campaigns and affiliated committees like the RNC and Democratic National Committee, which have higher individual fundraising limits and benefit from joint fundraising efforts with the candidates.

Obama’s fundraising appeared to enjoy a significant boost from both the Clooney fundraiser and also from the president’s decision to endorse gay marriage early in the month. Obama spent significant time raising money from the gay community in the aftermath of his gay marriage announcement, and he also reportedly raised more than $5 million during a California fundraising swing this week with gay and lesbian donors.

His Twitter account broke the news, detailing the more than half million donors who chipped in for the month — including 147,000 new donors.

The LGBT community was already a big part of Obama’s fundraising apparatus even before his endorsement of gay marriage. It’s not clear how much of the $60 million came from gay donors, but it’s logical to assume that plenty of Obama’s fundraising boost came from that decision.

It’s the first month, though, that Romney’s team has outraised Obama’s. Romney closed the gap significantly in April, trailing Obama $43.6 million to $40.1 million just as the GOP nominating contest was wrapping up.

Obama’s campaign raised 98 percent of its money from donors giving $250 or less, while Romney raised 93 percent from such small-dollar donors.

Obama did not raise this much in his 2008 campaign until August of the election year.

Dan Eggen and Amy Gardner contributed to this report.

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