Romney's Massive Cash Advantage Over Obama

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 21 2012 9:32 AM

Romney's Cash Advantage Over Obama Comes Into Focus

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Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan campaign in Manchester, N.H. on Monday

Photograph by John Moore/Getty Images.

The New York Times brings us news of Mitt Romney's mounting cash advantage over President Obama:

Mr. Romney’s extraordinary two-month run raising money — his team has pulled in more than $200 million in June and July — makes it virtually certain that Mr. Obama will not leave the Democratic convention next month with the cash advantage he had four years ago, when he heavily outspent the Republican candidate, John McCain, on his way to victory in November. The July totals do not include what Romney campaign officials said was a boost in both small online donations and large checks after Mr. Romney selected Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate.
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During much of the GOP primary season, the general thought was that whichever candidate emerged—be it Mitt Romney or one of the Anybody But Mitt Romneys—would have to wage something of a short-stacked campaign against a well-oiled fundraising machine that helped carry Obama to the White House in 2008. But the idea of the president using stockpiles of cash (remember the "billion-dollar campaign") to flood the airwaves ahead of this fall now seems to be a thing of the past.

Even when the Beltway crowd was speculating about Obama's expected haul, however, there was always a second narrative about how deep-pocketed outside groups would do their part to make up any spending gap between Romney and the president. While that expected gap never materialized, the super PACs are indeed changing the math of this election season, thanks in large part to the recent hauls of GOP heavy hitters. Restore our Future, founded by former Romney aides, raised $7.4 million in July and the Karl Rove-created American Crossroads brought in another $7.7 million. Priorities USA Action, the headliner of Obama-backing PACs, meanwhile, raised a relatively paltry $4.8 million last month.

The Times notes that Romney's outside spending advantage is likely even higher given the tax-exempt groups that don't have to disclose their donors: The Koch-founded Americans for Prosperity spent at least $14 million on ads in the last 30 days, according to the FEC, and American Crossroads sister org Crossroads GPS spent more than $16 million, according to a group that tracks such spending.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.