Mitt Romney and his allies continue to grow their cash advantage over President Obama, whose campaign spent more than it raised in July, federal election filings from Monday show.
While the Romney campaign itself raised slightly less than the Obama campaign last month, Romney's party raised nearly four times as much as its counterpart, and his super PAC raised over 50 percent more than Obama's. As of July 31, Obama and the Democrats had $107 million on hand while Romney and the Republicans had nearly $140 million.
July saw Romney nearly double his cash advantage over Obama, whose campaign has begun burning through cash for grassroots organizing efforts and advertising. The campaign spent about $40 million on advertising and nearly $60 million total last month despite raising $49 million. That high burn rate, when combined with the Republican's record-breaking fundraising, adds up to a huge cash advantage for Mitt Romney heading into the home stretch of the campaign.
Romney Victory, a combined effort of the Romney campaign and the Republican Party, raised $101 million, the most ever raised in July. It's not likely much will change in August either, as the side brought in one of Congress's most prolific fundraisers in Paul Ryan. In the week following that announcement, the campaign raised $10 million.
Then there's the campaign's super PAC, Restore Our Future, which continues to bring in big chunks of cash. In July, in less than 200 checks, the group raised $7.5 million, an average of $37,000 per donation. Attracting big donors is something the group has consistently done better than its counterpart, Obama's Priorities USA Action. As it has every month so far, it lost the super PAC battle in July. As of July 31, Romney's super PAC had $20 million on hand, while Obama's had just $4 million.
There's no question Romney, through his official allies in the party and unofficial ones outside of it (like Crossroads GPS), has better financial backing than Obama. Because the bulk of the president's cash is in his own campaign, he has greater control over how it's used. Thus far, that's meant a significant investment in grassroots efforts like voter registration drives and campaign offices across the country, perhaps in anticipation of being outspent on the airwaves.
"We expect Mitt Romney and the Republicans to outspend us," Obama wrote in a an E-mail over the weekend. "What I will not abide is getting outspent by a margin that negates all the hard work our volunteers are doing--talking to voters, knocking on doors, making calls."
It has also meant advertising early, before Romney begins to exert his cash advantage. Not only has Romney spent far spent less on ground operations--the campaign's payroll, event, and travel costs were much lower than Obama's--but he has also not yet begun to agressively advertise. Media spending constituted less than half of the Romney campaign's haul last month.
Seth Cline is a reporter with U.S. News and World Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter.