The support comes just as Obama’s Republican rival, Mitt Romney, is expected to get a fresh boost from donors who held out during the Republican nomination contest. In recent weeks, Romney has also started directing his backers to the Republican National Committee, which by law can accept bigger checks than his campaign.
The Obama campaign has 533 people who have each raised at least $50,000 for his campaign and the Democratic National Committee, including 90 who joined the campaign in the last quarter. The total nearly matches the 558 people who were listed as volunteer fundraisers for the 2008 campaign.
Of this year’s bundlers, 117 are in the top echelon, raising at least $500,000 each, nearly double the number the campaign reported at the end of the 2011 and more than double the 47 who reached that level in 2008.
The lengthening list of top fundraisers is a sign that bigger donors are coming off the sidelines as the outlines of the race against Romney become clear. The president has so far collected fewer big donors than Romney, instead putting the emphasis on small-dollar contributors. Well-heeled donors have been slower to match the same level of enthusiasm that drove Obama’s fundraising during the hard-fought primary in 2008.
“We’ve had to raise without the same sense of early urgency,” said Andy Spahn, a top fundraiser for Obama in Hollywood. “But the race is coming into focus and the donor community is really starting to step up.”
The campaign has 13 top fundraisers from the entertainment industry, including actor Tyler Perry, film producer Jeffrey Katzenberg and Miramax founder Harvey Weinstein. In 2008, just three of the top fundraisers hailed from the industry.
Vice President Biden was in California last week for two fundraisers. Obama is headed back to the state next month after a successful swing in February, which included a 1,000-person Foo Fighters concert in the backyard of a soap opera producer and a separate $35,800-plate dinner.
Obama will be at actor George Clooney’s house on May 10 for another high-dollar dinner, slated to be the biggest event of his reelection with an expected haul of more than $3 million.
Overall, Obama has raised at least $53 million in California, including $21 million from the Los Angeles metro area or about 10 percent of the donations listed on his disclosure filings, according to a Washington Post analysis. That’s up slightly from less than 7 percent at the same period in 2008 while other areas, including the Washington and Chicago regions, have accounted for a smaller share of Obama’s total.