Romney Is Winning the Money War

For the third straight month, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee have taken in more contributions than President Obama and the Democrats.

In July Romney and the RNC raised $101.3 million, one-third more than the president and the DNC, which took in $75 million.

Karl Rove. Photo: Flickr/National Constitution Center

And Romney appears in really good shape for the fall.

The New York Times reported that Romney and the RNC are on track to raise $800 million in this election cycle—a little more than the president took in during his record-setting 2008 campaign. And SuperPACs, like those run by the Koch brothers and Karl Rove, may spend another $1 billion altogether on Republican candidates for the White House, the Senate, and state-wide races. The SuperPAC supporting President Obama won’t raise anywhere near that.

Meanwhile, the Obama campaign has already spent $400 million, an astonishing amount. As The New York Times wrote:

Since the beginning of last year, Mr. Obama and the Democrats have burned through millions of dollars to find and register voters…They have spent tens of millions of dollars on polling, online advertising and software development to turn Mr. Obama’s fallow volunteers corps into a grass-roots army…

Despite Mr. Obama’s multimillion-dollar advertising barrage against Mr. Romney, he is now being outspent on the airwaves…While Mr. Romney has depleted much of his funds from the nominating contest, he is four weeks away from being able to tap into tens of millions of dollars in general election money…

Mr. Obama’s cash needs—he spent $70.8 million in June alone, more than half on advertising and far more than he raised—have brought new urgency to his campaign’s fund-raising efforts.

The president has taken to unseemly begging for cash, warning supporters that his recent birthday could be his last in the White House and using similar melodramatic scare tactics.

But the president’s team has made a big, big bet—that they can cast their opponent in a negative light when voters are most open to persuasion, from the spring through the conventions. And indeed their attacks on Romney’s career at Bain Capital, his tax returns, and most recently his tax policy have succeeded.

In the fall, the Republicans and the SuperPACs will unleash a huge barrage of negative ads, which are likely to overwhelm the Obama campaign’s.

Photo: Shutterstock

But will they work? On Tuesday The Wall Street Journal described how the campaigns and SuperPACs have bought up huge chunks of ad time in the key swing states both candidates want to reach:

Campaigns, political parties and outside groups are expected to spend some $6.5 billion on television and cable ads for federal and state elections this year, up from $4.8 billion in 2008…

Some political strategists say it will be a challenge for any candidate or PAC this fall to break through the clutter.

“It’s fair to say Ohio voters have about reached the saturation level by early August,” said Scott Reed, campaign manager for former GOP Sen. Bob Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign, who spent the weekend in Ohio. “There’s just an incredible amount of noise going on.”

With less than 10% of the electorate undecided, and so many resources being poured into the swing states that will decide the election, you wonder when voters will reach the saturation point.

So, the Obama and Romney campaigns are running different kinds of races—the president, a sprint, and former Gov. Romney, a marathon. We’ll see who wins the gold medal in the end.

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