Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Romney Ramps Up Fund-Raising ; Republican Challenger Brings in More Cash Than Obama for a 2nd Month

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Romney Ramps Up Fund-Raising ; Republican Challenger Brings in More Cash Than Obama for a 2nd Month

Article excerpt

The Republican presidential challenger brought in more in donations than the incumbent in May and June, causing some in the Obama campaign to worry.

In the battle for political cash, President Barack Obama is finding himself in an unaccustomed place during the final months of the 2012 campaign: He is losing.

Mitt Romney, his opponent, and the Republican National Committee easily outraised the formidable Obama money machine for the second month in a row. A nonstop schedule of high-dollar events around the country brought in $106 million during June to Mr. Obama's $71 million, giving him and his party four times the cash on hand that it had just three months ago.

And in a worrisome development for the Obama campaign, Mr. Romney, who until now has been heavily dependent on donors giving the maximum federal contribution, also showed success in June drawing small donors, a traditional strength of the Obama campaign.

Reflecting the intensifying general election matchup with Mr. Obama and conservative anger over the recent Supreme Court decision upholding the president's signature health care law, Mr. Romney raised about a third of his total in checks of less than $250, officials said on Monday. Mr. Romney and the Republican National Committee now have about $160 million in cash.

"This month's fund-raising is a statement from voters that they want a change of direction in Washington," Spencer Zwick, Mr. Romney's finance chief, said in a statement.

Mr. Obama's fund-raising deficit in part reflects how steeply the terrain has shifted since 2008, when many Republican donors embraced the candidate and his campaign raised millions of dollars from Wall Street and other traditionally right-leaning industries. Now those donors are swinging hard back to the Republican Party -- and to Mr. Romney, whose promise to curtail regulation and cut taxes has helped draw a torrent of five-figure checks.

Mr. Romney's surge puts him on track to raise the $800 million his campaign and the Republican National Committee hope to bring in by Election Day, leaving the real possibility that Mr. Obama could be outspent despite the advantages of incumbency. And with political reality reasserting itself on Mr. Obama, he is being forced to rely more heavily on traditional Democratic constituencies, like Hollywood, labor unions and gay donors, as well as his own millions of small donors.

"It's the perfect storm for Republicans," said R. Donahue Peebles, a New York businessman who has raised more than $100,000 for Mr. Obama. "Republicans and independents who supported the president financially thought they would see a change in how Washington worked. What they see now, and it's not necessarily the president's fault, is a lot of partisanship in Washington and a struggling economy."

Mr. Obama, who reported about $109 million in cash in the bank at the end of May, has been significantly outspending Mr. Romney on advertising in swing states, those which are seen as in reach of either candidate.

But Mr. Romney's fund-raising successes are being matched by Republican-leaning outside groups, who are barraging the airwaves with anti-Obama advertisements that the president's campaign has been forced to spend its own money to match.

Mr. Obama easily outraised Mr. Romney through much of the last year, as Mr. Romney fought for the Republican nomination and Mr. Obama exploited his incumbency to raise large checks in conjunction with the Democratic National Committee. And newly minted nominees typically take in huge influxes of cash as major donors come off the sidelines at the end of a nominating fight, as John Kerry did during the early months of the 2004 general election campaign against George W. …

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