The leading pro-Obama super PAC raised $15 million in the final three weeks of the campaign as a handful of wealthy Democrats found their footing in a new world of deregulated money in politics.
Priorities USA received 14 contributions of at least $500,000 in the days after the final pre-election disclosures of Oct. 17, with first-time donations coming from the likes of Chong-Moon Lee of AmBex Venture Group in California, who gave $500,000, Florida retiree Henry Laufer, who gave $1.5 million, and Stephen Robert of Renaissance Technologies, who gave $1 million.
But other large donors were the same ones who have given to outside groups working to elect Democrats in the House and Senate, who have given previously to Priorities, and who have worked as volunteer fundraisers for the Obama campaign itself, names like Fred Eychaner, a Chicago media executive, and Steve Mostyn, a Texas lawyer.
Largely unknown two years ago, they and a handful of donors have clearly supplanted the likes of George Soros, who was largely absent from this campaign, as the new Democratic super-funders.
The fourteen largest donors in the final days gave a combined $11 million, but counting repeated donations, they gave double that throughout the campaign.
A push to move super PACs beyond the exclusive domain of the super-rich also paid off, with the PAC receiving 800 contributions of $1,000 or less in the final weeks.
But it still relied heavily on unions, with the Laborers’ International Union of North America giving $1 million.
Priorities USA also did not appear to exhaust its financial reserves by election day, reporting $4.3 million remaining in the bank.
After miserable fundraising in the early months, Priorities more recently outraised its pro-Romney counterpart, Restore Our Future, but fell short of Restore in the most recent reporting period, $15 million to $22 million.