- Associated Press - Thursday, October 13, 2011

President Obama’s campaign raised more than $70 million combined for his re-election and the Democratic Party during the summer, an amount that gives him a clear financial advantage over his Republican rivals even as he faces economic and political headwinds.

The fundraising total announced Thursday exceeds a goal set by the campaign of $55 million combined for the July-September fundraising period, but is about $16 million less than Mr. Obama raised during the April-June quarter.

The Democrat dealt with declining poll numbers and a weakened economy during the summer, prompting the president to recently call himself the “underdog” in the presidential race. Campaign officials had said they would raise less because of canceled fundraisers during the summer’s debt-ceiling negotiations and a typical summertime lull in raising cash.

Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in an email to supporters that more than 600,000 people donated to the campaign in the most recent quarter, more than the previous three months. He said more than 980,000 people have given money to the campaign, and in the most recent quarter, 98 percent of the donors gave $250 or less, with an average donation of $56.

“Getting to a million grass-roots donors isn’t just a huge accomplishment this early in the campaign. It’s our answer to our opponents, the press, and anyone who wants to know whether the president’s supporters have his back,” Mr. Messina said.

The numbers include $42.8 million for Mr. Obama’s campaign and $27.3 million for the Democratic National Committee, which will help Mr. Obama’s re-election effort next year. The president raised $86 million combined during the April-June quarter.

Mr. Obama still leads his Republican rivals in fundraising by tens of millions of dollars and can save most of it for next year because he does not face a primary opponent.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leads the Republican field in fundraising, pulling in more than $18 million in his first three months of campaigning. He is not expected to surpass that mark for the past three months but should lead the pack in cash on hand.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry raised $17 million in his first seven weeks of campaigning and had $15 million in the bank. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, a favorite of libertarians, collected $8 million during the summer after raising $4.5 million in his first three months.

Despite the GOP’s money deficit, Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said Mr. Obama would “need every penny he can raise because voters don’t believe he has the ability to turn the economy around or create much-needed jobs.”

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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