Presidential Fundraising Has Only Just Begun

National Journal

Many breathless stories have been written about fundraising in the presidential race, but the biggest gasp may be yet to come.

The two candidates in the general election, along with the parties and super PACs that support them, will far outpace the entire pack of primary contenders when it comes to raising money.

For example, the major Republican candidates and President Obama combined to gather more than $300 million for their campaigns through February, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Yet Mitt Romney and the Republican groups who support him reportedly plan to raise and spend $1 billion in the general election. And Obama—who raised almost $745 million to win his first term—is no slacker, either.

As the deadline for the latest campaign finance reports lands this week, showing the totals for March, the numbers will start to build. Romney announced today that his campaign raised $12.6 million last month, and $87 million overall. He ended March with about $10.1 million on hand.

Obama announced that his campaign and other Democratic organizations raised a combined $53 million in March, though the report has not yet been filed showing how much of that was gathered by his campaign and how much cash it has in the bank.

Whatever the results, this much is clear: The amount spent on both sides by the time levers are pulled in November may indeed be breathtaking.

—Glen Justice

NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRIMARY REPORT

Romney Raised $12.6 Million in March  
[National Journal, 4/20/12] Mitt Romney raised nearly $12.6 million for March, his campaign announced on Friday. The campaign has raised $87 million in all.

With Modern Campaigns, Only Mountains, No Molehills 
[Washington Post, 4/20/12] In the age of Twitter, every utterance — whether by the candidates, their surrogates or even people with the loosest possible affiliations to their campaigns — is treated like a major moment. The major question: Is this a good or bad thing for the way we elect politicians?

Romney’s Challenge: Convincing the GOP He Can Win 
[Politico, 4/20/12] Poll after poll indicates the presidential campaign is a dead heat, and endorsement after endorsement suggests Romney is consolidating the GOP behind his candidacy. But under the table, there is pervasive pessimism among Republicans about Romney’s prospects this fall.

Poll: Obama Leads Romney But Trails on Economy
[National Journal, 4/19/12] According to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released late on Thursday, President Obama holds a slight lead over Mitt Romney, but the Republican is viewed by more Americans as the candidate who can improve the economy. The Journal writes that the poll results frame the two rivals’ strengths. However, a new Gallup poll shows different findings.

Obama-Romney Personal Dynamic: Nearly a Blank Slate 
[RealClearPolitics, 4/20/12] In 2008, both Obama and John McCain had served together in the U.S. Senate and were familiar with each other. But the Romney-Obama relationship is completely different. The two men don’t really know each other, spending little time in each other’s presence.

DNC Uses McCain's Words to Slam Romney 
[Chicago Sun-Times, 4/20/12] The Democratic National Committee put out a new Web ad that compiles McCain’s attacks on Romney. The problem: McCain is one of Romney’s consistent surrogates in the media. The two men were in a bitter primary battle in 2008, in which McCain eventually went on to get the party’s nod.

Romney Begins To Bulk Up Campaign Team for General Election
[New York Times, 4/19/12] The Romney team is transitioning to full general election mode, making big-time hires in Boston and across the country. Not only are they bringing on longtime Republican political strategists for the grassroots operation, but the campaign’s speech-writing team is getting a facelift.

Mitch Daniels Tells Newspaper Romney Is Too Negative
[National Journal, 4/19/12] A day after endorsing Romney for president, popular Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels told one of the state’s top political reporters that Romney’s campaign to date is too negative and offered him some armchair pointers for becoming a better candidate.

Hybrid Automaker Blames Romney for Company Woes 
[Wilmington News Journal, 4/20/12] Fisker Automotive, a California-based hybrid carmaker, has been unable to draw down on loans from the Energy Department and has had to lay off nearly its entire workforce at a factory in Delaware. The former chairman of the company said that were it not for criticism coming from Romney, the company would have been able to renegotiate its deal with the government.

Ron Paul Electrifies Cornell Crowd 
[Cornell Daily Sun, 4/20/12] A boisterous crowd at Cornell University was treated to a spectacle befitting the hockey arena it was held in, as Ron Paul spoke to students, one of his most energetic constituencies. The fun was interrupted when a protester stood up with a sign calling Paul a bigot.

Newt Gingrich's Poignant Last Hurrah in New York 
[BuzzFeed, 4/20/12] Although his campaign is looking for a win in Delaware, Gingrich was in New York on Thursday to address the state’s Republican Party. As his candidacy winds on, Gingrich sounds more and more conciliatory toward Romney. He also said he's dedicated to a "unified Republican Party."

Ron Paul Hauls in $10.4 Million in First Quarter
[National Journal, 4/20/12] GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul will report on Friday that he raised roughly $10.4 million in the first three months of 2012.

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