President Obama’s reelection campaign raised $35 million in March, according to documents filed on Friday with the Federal Election Commission. The prodigious haul, nearly three times the total raised by presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, signals that the White House’s fundraising machine is ramping up as the general election kicks off.
Obama’s fundraising totals have increased each month in 2012. He raised roughly $12 million in January and $21 million in February. As of the end of March, he had $104 million on hand, up from the nearly $85 million a month earlier.
The president is expected to raise more than the $750 million he brought in during the 2008 campaign, and his total this time around could reach $1 billion. The campaign has downplayed that total, but it nonetheless has served as a rallying cry for Republicans who warn their presidential nominee could be smothered by Obama’s cash.
Friday’s news would appear to inflame those concerns. Obama said earlier in the week that he had raised a combined $53 million in March for his campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Hours before Obama's detailed report was filed on Friday, Romney announced that he had raised $12.6 million during March. All the money, the Romney campaign announced, was earmarked for the primary season.
The yawning disparity between Obama’s and Romney’s fundraising reports underscores the challenge facing the former Massachusetts governor as he gears up for the general election. But Romney's campaign isn't backing down: The New York Times reported this week that the candidate, along with the Republican National Committee, plans to raise $800 million by Election Day.
Romney can also count on an array of outside groups, such as American Crossroads, to pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the anti-Obama effort. These so-called super PACs could reduce, possibly even erase, Obama's presumed financial edge. Crossroads, for instance, has said that it plans to raise as much as $300 million.