President Obama's campaign will report raising a staggering $47 million in the past three months, his campaign manager said in a Web video released early Wednesday morning.
That amount dwarfs the money raised in the last three months by the entire Republican field, underscoring just how great an advantage the incumbent will have over the eventual GOP nominee. Obama's haul is well over twice as much as the $18 million the leading Republican, Mitt Romney, managed to pull in.
“This should end any Washington chatter about whether or not our grassroots base will be engaged,” campaign manager Jim Messina told reporters on Wednesday morning. “Our supporters are back, they’re energized, and there’s a new generation of supporters who have joined this generation.”
(PICTURES: Second-Quarter Presidential Fundraising Figures)
But, Messina warned, while Obama's early success looks like he can swamp the Republican field, another shadowy player waits. Recent court decisions have allowed vast amounts of money to flow into politics, and outside organizations stand ready to spend millions on behalf of whomever the Republican nominee may be.
"GOP outside spending for 2012 could be as much as $500 million, but these groups don't report anything. We're not allowed to see any of those numbers," Messina said. "This is a whole new ballgame, like we've never faced before."
In the video, e-mailed to supporters, Messina said Obama for America will report the contributions came from more than 552,000 donors. Those contributors gave an average of just $69—a far lower number than the 2008 campaign and an indication that the fundraising well is deep. Overall, 98 percent of contributions to the campaign were below the $250 threshold.
In the conference call, Messina noted that more than 260,000 of those donors were first-time Obama supporters who did not give money to his 2008 campaign.
The Democratic National Committee will report having raised an additional $38 million in the last three months. The two committees may raise money jointly through the Obama Victory Fund, an entity that allows donors to write checks for up to $35,800. That money is divided, with the first $5,000 of any contribution going to Obama's campaign and the rest going to the DNC (the DNC must report its fundraising totals every month, meaning the committee will report raising about $14 million in June when it file its own reports).
The combined fundraising total of $86 million exceeded the $60 million goal by a wide margin. Additional details will become available Friday, when the campaign files its Q2 fundraising report and plans to disclose the names of its bundlers, anyone who raised over $50,000.
Obama's campaign has already opened 60 field offices around the country, Messina said, and the campaign has conducted almost 650 initial organizing sessions in every state that will matter in the 2012 campaign. The campaign will flex its organizing muscle this Saturday, Messina said, with its latest day of organizing.
The campaign has not yet released fundraising goals for the third quarter, in which supporters are typically less engaged in the political process because it falls during the summer vacation season. But Messina noted that the campaign recruited 1,500 summer organizers from a pool of 12,000 applicants—a higher number than it had in 2008—to continue building their nationwide campaign infrastructure. Most of the 2011 spending will go toward building that system, Messina said.