President Barack Obama’s re- election committee had 10 times more money to spend than former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s campaign entering April, Federal Election Commission reports show.
Obama reported a bank balance of $104.1 million after raising $35.1 million in March. That included $7.5 million transferred from a joint fundraising account with the Democratic National Committee. Romney finished March with $10.1 million after raising $13.1 million during the month, his best in the campaign.
Through March 31, Obama raised $196.6 million for his re- election, more than twice as much as the $88.7 million collected by Romney’s campaign. Those sums don’t include money contributed to political action committees supporting the candidates.
Obama continued to rely heavily on small-dollar donors, as he did in 2008. Last month, 52 percent of the money going directly to his campaign committee came in amounts of $200 or less. Romney collected 13 percent of his money in those amounts.
The president also reported an increase in his top bundlers, supporters who tap their own networks to raise money. He identified 117 people who brought in at least $500,000, compared with 61 at the end of 2011.
Those newly identified as raising more than $500,000 for the campaign include Laura Ricketts, co-owner of the Chicago Cubs and the first openly gay owner of a major league sports team; Stewart Bainum, chairman of Silver Spring, Maryland-based Choice Hotels International Inc. (CHH); and Michael Sacks, chief executive officer of Chicago-based Grosvenor Capital Management.
Obama is the only candidate identifying all of his fundraisers. Romney disclosed just two, lobbyists Paul Mattera of Liberty Mutual Group Inc. and Joseph Wall of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. By law, candidates must identify lobbyists raising money for them.
Romney became the presumptive Republican nominee with the April 10 departure from the race of his chief rival for the nomination, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and U.S. Representative Ron Paul of Texas remain as Republican candidates.
A political action committee backing Romney, Restore Our Future, took in $8.7 million last month and had $6.5 million left to spend. Harold Simmons, chairman of Dallas-based Contran Corp., gave $600,000; he gave $200,000 earlier this year.
The pro-Obama PAC Priorities USA Action trailed in fundraising, bringing in $2.5 million even after the president in February began urging supporters to contribute. Top donors included writer Amy P. Goldman, who gave $1 million; comedian Chelsea Handler, who donated $100,000; and longtime Democratic giver Bernard L. Schwartz, chief executive officer of BLS Investments, who also donated $100,000. The PAC ended the month with $5 million in the bank.
Candidates in Debt
Santorum raised $5 million last month, bringing his total to $20.7 million. He had $1.8 million in the bank and reported debts of $2 million, including $760,009 for media to John Brabender, his senior adviser, and $483,237 for online services and ads.
He was aided by a super-PAC, the Red White and Blue Fund, which raised $2.6 million and finished the month with $263,000 cash on hand. Louisiana energy executive William Dore, an earlier $1.5-million donor, gave $750,000 more. Wyoming investor Foster Freiss contributed $500,000, bringing his total donations to $2.1 million.
Gingrich took in $1.7 million, and finished the month with $1.2 million in the bank. He has now raised $22.6 million for his campaign. He had $4.3 million in debts, almost triple what he reported owing a month earlier. His debts included $271,776 to himself for travel expenses and $1.1 million to the air- charter company Moby Dick Airways.
Winning Our Future, a super-PAC backing Gingrich, raised $5.1 million in March, $5 million of it from Miriam Adelson, wife of billionaire casino executive Sheldon Adelson. The couple has given $20 million to the PAC, which ended March with $5.8 million in the bank.
Paul raised $2.6 million last month and has now taken in $37 million for his campaign. He had $1.8 million in the bank at the end of March. He received 37 percent of his donations last month in amounts of $200 or less.
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