With two weeks before election day, Mitt Romney’s team has nearly 50 percent more in the bank than President Obama – an advantage of $55 million – according to new filings detailing the campaigns’ and parties’ fiscal standing as of October 1.
The lead for Mr. Romney defies the prowess of the fundraising juggernaut Mr. Obama has assembled, and is the result of restrained spending by the Republican candidate, who has opted for a strategy that is heavy on late spending.
But Mr. Obama has already booked – and paid for – television ads further in advance than Mr. Romney, however, which helps even the score to a financial stalemate that is as dramatic as the candidates’ standings in the polls. Mr. Romney spent $37 on broadcast media last month, compared to $88 million for Mr. Obama, and those include advanced buys.
The Republican National Committee and Romney campaign apparatuses had $183 million on hand at the beginning of this month, and $15 million in debts. The Democrats have $149 million in the bank and $35 million in debts.
Republicans also sent about $20 million to strategic states last month, where it will be used for on-the-ground presidential operations, while Democrats sent about $18 million.
117,000 people who have given at least $200 this cycle gave to Mr. Romney last month, compared to three times that many for Mr. Obama. But Mr. Romney raised twice as much as Mr. Obama from donors giving $10,000 or more. Those donations accounted for $95 million of the $170 million Team Romney raised last month, and accounted for $53 million of the $181 million Team Obama raised.
Among smaller donors, the commander-in-chief’s largest donor base was members of the U.S. Army and the Department of Defense, who gave 1,700 times.
Only 300 Army members, and 127 in the Navy, gave to Mr. Romney. The perception of support among the military is much sought after in any campaign, but soldiers in recent years have gravitated to those who are more likely to bring them home to safety, preferring Ron Paul over Mr. Obama, but Mr. Obama over other Republicans. Mr. Obama has pledged to withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
But Mr. Romney’s campaign failed to obtain employment information from a huge chunk of his donors, both making it hard to evaluate who a President Romney could be beholden to and also possibly understating the armed-services figures.
Employees of Kaiser, the healthcare conglomerate that, due to its integrated model, stands to benefit from Mr. Obama’s health care reform, made 1,500 donations to the president last month. 1,872 donors gave their occupations as “disabled.” Academics at elite colleges formed the remainder of Mr. Obama’s small-donor money base.
Mr. Romney and the Republican National Committee has 650 staffers, and as he did last month, he gave massive bonuses to seven top staffers, paying political director Rich Beeson $44,000 in September alone in bonuses that were coupled to electoral wins. Mr. Obama’s organization has 1,000 staffers.
Though the figures were released this weekend, the cash on hand figures could have changed significantly since Oct. 1, with both campaigns making all-out daily pleas for donations. Mr. Obama had his best fundraising day ever Oct. 17, according to ABC News, and Mr. Romney raised $400,000 from donors giving $1,000 each or more the next day, according to special disclosures made for large, last-minute donations.