Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney surged ahead of President Barack Obama in fundraising for the first time last month — and a senior Obama adviser concedes that Obama will be the first incumbent president to be out-raised by his opponent.
Romney’s campaign and the Republican Party together raised more than $76 million in May, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission, while Obama and the Democrats brought in $60 million.
Obama campaign officials predict that Romney will also outdo Obama and the Democrats in June with a $100 million haul.
“I think Romney is going to continue to have big months,” an Obama campaign official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters. “Combine that with the Super PAC stuff, and we are going to be the first incumbent outspent. That’s clear.”
Senior advisers in the Obama campaign told The New York Times that Romney and groups supporting him will spend $1.25 billion on television advertising.
“Republicans are betting they can win this thing on the air,” one adviser said. “Make no mistake, we will be outspent.”
On Wednesday, Romney enjoyed what campaign officials described as his single best day of fundraising yet, taking in between $6 million and $8 million during a swing through Michigan.
"Michigan has been great," John Rakolta, a national finance co-chair of Romney's campaign, told attendees during a fundraiser Romney headlined in Troy. "Today we will exceed every single event that has been held for Gov. Romney from the beginning of the campaign. So we have set a new record tonight in terms of fundraising."
Disclosures posted late Wednesday indicate that American Crossroads, a Super PAC formed by veteran GOP strategist Karl Rove, raised $4.6 million in May, while another Super PAC backing Romney, Restore Our Future, brought in $8 million.
Restore Our Future received a $10 million pledge in June from Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who had supported Newt Gingrich for the GOP nomination, The Times reported.
The Obama campaign filed a complaint on Tuesday with the Federal Elections Commission demanding that Crossroads GPS, affiliated with American Crossroads, disclose its donors.
A spokesman for Crossroads responded by noting that Priorities USA, a Super PAC backing Obama, also has a sister organization that does not disclose its donors.
Obama’s campaign reportedly spent more than it took in last month, and some observers said the campaign’s prediction of a huge $100 million fundraising haul by Romney in June could be designed to prod Obama supporters to boost donations.
“By suggesting that Romney and the Republican National Committee will be ahead again in June and attaching a whopping figure to that forecast, the Obama campaign may be setting up Romney for a perceived failure if he does not reach that number, while softening the blow in advance if Obama’s figures turn out to be lackluster,” Reuters reported.
The Romney campaign dismissed the $100 million prediction.
“The Obama campaign is used to moving the goalposts,” said spokeswoman Andrea Saul.
Romney is hosting a retreat in Utah this weekend for contributors who raised tens of thousands of dollars for his campaign. Among the political luminaries expected to attend are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
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