The stultifying fundraising amounts in the presidential campaign continue unabated as Republican Mitt Romney announced that his campaign raised an astounding $106 million in June, far outpacing the $71 million raised by President Obama that was released today.
Along with separate fundraising by the Republican National Committee, Romney’s side raised $160 million in June.
The total far exceeds Romney’s record-breaking total from May, when he raised $77 million, out-pacing President Obama by $17 million. This time he beat Obama by $35 million, even though Obama’s haul of $71 million represented a healthy increase for him of $11 million over the previous month.
While both the Obama and Romney camps will put their spin on the numbers for their own benefit, one thing is clear: the huge amounts of money mean that there will be forces at work during the next four months that are largely outside the influence of the average voter. In other words, the results may be less about which candidate the American people think would be the best to lead the country and more about who made the most overwhelming media buys in the right places at the right times, flooding the airwaves, sucking up all the oxygen and keeping the other guy from being able to buy equal time.
For perspective, consider that Republican challenger John McCain raised a total of $383 million in 2008, an amount that Romney more than halved in just May and June. Obama raised $760 million in 2008.
While Obama has been using the Romney cash machine as a stick to beat more money out of his supporters, Romney’s side is claiming that his big numbers are a sign that the American people want change. And while they are making those claims, the Romney campaign is actually bragging about the fact that $22.3 million of the $106 million came from donations under $250, which they say represents 94 percent of all donations. But there’s another interpretation here: a staggering $84 million of Romney’s dollars came from big donations—and just 6 percent of his total donations accounted for $84 million. What that should tell us is that there are some very rich people sending money into Romney’s coffers—people who may be looking for favors in return. But because of the brave new world of campaign finance, these big money donors can find ways to be shielded from public disclosure.