Despite his political troubles, President Obama has surged far ahead of his Republican rivals in raising money for the 2012 election, bringing in more than $150 million for his campaign and the Democratic Party from nearly 1 million donors, according to figures released Thursday.
The campaign said it raised $43 million from July through September, plus $27 million for the Democratic National Committee, which can accept much larger donations. That brings the campaign’s total to more than $90 million, plus $65 million more for the DNC, since Obama formally began his reelection bid.
The numbers put Obama comfortably ahead of his leading GOP rivals, who together appear unlikely to match his total for the third quarter.
Aides to Texas Gov. Rick Perry have said he will report raising $17 million through September, while former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is expected to come in at around $13 million. Pizza magnate Herman Cain, who has vaulted to the front of recent polls, has raised relatively little money.
Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, said in a message to supporters Thursday that 98 percent of the 766,000 donations collected in the third quarter were $250 or less, with an average amount of $56.
DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse said, “The combined effort of the DNC and the Obama campaign shows that the president continues to receive broad support and grass-roots support. We have plenty of enthusiasm and interest, and it’s reflected in the numbers.”
Some Republicans, however, suggest that Obama’s efforts are underwhelming, considering the power of incumbency and his stature as the top political fundraiser in U.S. history. George W. Bush’s campaign raised a record-breaking $50 million in the third quarter of 2003 for his reelection campaign, despite operating under more restrictive fundraising limits than Obama faces.
Officials said the Republican National Committee raised $23.4 million in the third quarter without having a presidential nominee to rally around. The RNC also surpassed the DNC in contributions in August, a gap that Democrats blame in part on a raft of canceled fundraisers during the national debt crisis.
“As the president’s poll numbers plummet and his base craters, the RNC continues to bank the resources needed to ensure he is a one-term president,” RNC spokesman Sean Spicer said.
The Obama campaign said it expects to file its full disclosure reports with the Federal Election Commission on Friday. All candidates are required to file their third-quarter reports by midnight on Saturday.