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Independent interest groups report hefty fundraising for September

Independent interest groups supporting President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, reported Friday that September brought some of their best fundraising, driven by enthusiasm from wealthy donors on both sides of the political divide.

The pro-Obama group Priorities USA Action raised $15.2 million last month, more than any month yet, according to a spokeswoman for the group. The pro-Romney group Restore Our Future reported raising $14.9 million last month in a federal filing, close to a record.

The donations to support Romney include $2 million from Texas home builder Bob Perry, who has given a total of $10.8 million to the group and an additional $6.5 million to American Crossroads, which supports Republicans including Romney.

Two businessmen gave $1 million each to Restore Our Future: Missouri contractor Stanley Herzog and Robert McNair, the owner of the Houston Texans football team. A firm controlled by billionaire energy investor William Koch also gave $1 million, bringing the total donations linked to him to $4 million.

“Donors are very energized,” said Charlie Spies, the treasurer and co-founder of Restore Our Future. “They feel Governor Romney’s message is getting communicated effectively, especially since the first debate.”

Explore the candidates’ campaign finances

Priorities USA will report donors Saturday, when its filing is due. Two Democratic super PACs supporting congressional campaigns also said they had raised record sums. The House Majority PAC brought in $5.9 million. The Majority PAC, which helps Senate Democrats, raised $10 million in September and another $9.7 million in the fist half of October, the group said in a news release.

“Just a couple weeks into October we’re on track to double our September numbers,” said Andy Stone, a spokesman for the House Majority PAC.

The Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee had $150 million in the bank at the end of September, according to reports filed Friday evening. That compares with $191 million in the coffers of the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee, according to the campaign.

The Democratic National Committee borrowed $10 million in September, bringing its total debt to $20.5 million. The committee has invested in its person-to-person voter contact program, sending money to state parties around the country, which are organizing volunteers to register voters and get them to the polls.

The DNC transferred $18.5 million to state parties in September, including $3.9 million to Ohio, $3.3 million to Florida and $2.2 million to Virginia. The Republicans moved $29.5 million to states in September.

The RNC was sitting on a large cash reserve, $82.5 million, much of which will probably be spent on anti-Obama advertising in the final weeks of the campaign.

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