WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama collected $86 million combined for his re-election campaign and the Democratic party during the past three months, giving him a large fundraising advantage over the Republican field seeking to challenge him in 2012.
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Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in a video posted early Wednesday that it raised more than $47 million and the Democratic National Committee brought in more than $38 million through the end of June. Obama's team had set a public goal of $60 million combined.
As expected, the fundraising totals outpace Republicans, who have collectively raised about $35 million so far, although some candidates have yet to release their results. At the same time in 2007, 10 Republican presidential hopefuls had raised more than $118 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Fundraising totals are often seen as a gauge of excitement about a candidate, and the money in Obama's coffers will help build a foundation for all-important advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts in next year's election.
Obama's advisers are anticipating a stiff challenge from Republicans amid rocky economic conditions. Obama has acknowledged he will need to re-energize supporters who were inspired by his message of hope and change three years ago but may be discouraged by the economy and the pace of change.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leads the Republican field in fundraising, pulling in more than $18 million during the past three months. An independent fundraising group supporting Romney's presidential bid has raised $12 million this year.
Following Romney, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty collected $4.2 million and former U.S.envoy to China Jon Huntsman brought in $4.1 million, with about half coming from his personal wealth. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, a conservatove tea party favorite, has not yet released her fundraising totals.
"We have reason to be proud of what we've built so far but it's going to get tougher from here," Messina said in the video, estimating outside spending by Republican groups could exceed $500 million.
American Crossroads, founded by Karl Rove, a former adviser to President George W. Bush, and Americans For Prosperity, founded by billionaire oil brothers David and Charles Koch, spent heavily in the 2010 elections and have pledged to invest millions in 2012 to defeat Obama. Several Democratic groups have formed to compete with the conservative groups, including Priorities USA, which was founded by former Obama White House aides Sean Sweeney and Bill Burton. Their group has set a goal of raising $100 million for the campaign.
Republicans vowed to compete with Obama next year and said economic conditions would outweigh any fundraising edge.
"With the economy in the tank, the president can't win re-election," said Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee.
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