May was the best money month so far on the march toward what very likely will be a record year for presidential fundraising as Mitt Romney outraised President Obama $76.8 million to $60 million, according to the respective campaigns.
Both campaigns eclipsed the $60 million mark for the first time this cycle. For perspective, Sen. John McCain raised $17 million and Obama just $8.7 million in May of the 2008 presidential campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
The Romney campaign raised almost twice as much in May as it did in April. That's likely the result of two things: the end of the GOP primary and the creation of a joint fundraising group between Romney and the Republican National Committee.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvannia Sen. Rick Santorum, Romney's main challengers for the nomination, both dropped out of the race in April as Romney's delegate lead became insurmountable. Romney officially became the Republican nominee in May, and his fundraising appears to have benefited from the lack of competition.
The Romney Victory Fund, a committeee that raises money through Romney's campaign and through the RNC, formed in April. Because the committee is a partnership between a campaign, a national party, and state parties, donors can give the maximum amount to all three at once.
In other words, instead of giving just the $5,000 maximum to the Romney campaign, a donor can give that plus $30,800 (the maximum for a national party) and another $10,000 (the maximum for a state party) in one check. The Obama campaign has had its version, Obama Victory Fund 2012, for more than a year, and has raised significant sums. It's a way to sidestep the donation limits while still ensuring donation money goes to the desired candidate, instead of just the national party's general fund.
- Read: Mitt Romney Nearly Matches Obama Fundraising
- Check out our collection of political cartoons on Super PACs
- Read: What $40,000 Gets You in Presidential Fundraising
Seth Cline is a reporter at US News and World Report. You can contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter.