Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, teaming up with the Republican National Committee for fundraising in the month of April, announced Thursday his campaign raised $40.1 million, nearly matching President Obama and the Democrats total of $43.6 million.
The number is a vast improvement over his March total when the Romney campaign raised $12.6 million. But since all his GOP rivals have fallen by the wayside, Romney has joined forces with the national party infrastructure and had top donors rally around his campaign resulting in the wave of new money.
"We are pleased with the strong support we have received from Americans across the country who are looking for new leadership in the White House," said Spencer Zwick, Romney's finance chairman, in a statement released with the fundraising totals. "Along with the hard work of the Republican National Committee, we will continue to raise the funds necessary to defeat President Obama in November."
The campaign has a total of $61.4 million in cash on hand, according to the release, and 95 percent of the April donations were from donors giving $250 or less. By stressing the number and amount of sub-$250 donations, the campaign is likely trying to shed the image that only a handful of wealthy donors are funding their effort.
"Mitt Romney has the record and plan to turn our country around – that is why he is receiving such enthusiastic support from voters across the country," said Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus. "Along with the campaign, we will work to provide the resources so that we can defeat President Obama and change the direction of the country."
While campaign fundraising totals are still critically important to their ability to compete in elections, spending by groups unaffiliated with the campaigns are expected to continue playing a huge role as they did already in the Republican primary.
In fact, a wealthy businessman prepared to spend at least $10 million funding his own so-called Super PAC is already contemplating how best to attack Obama, according to a New York Times story.
In a document obtained by the New York Times and compiled for Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade, Obama would be vulnerable to criticisms of his connection to controversial pastor Jeremiah Wright. Obama was forced to leave the Chicago church where Wright delivered sermons during the 2008 Democratic primary because of inflammatory comments Wright had made regarding race and September 11.
The document also claimed Obama had presented himself to the public as a "metrosexual, black Abe Lincoln."
Super PACs are barred by law from coordinating campaign spending with the official campaigns and the candidates officially cannot influence what advertising messages they pursue, though they can publicly condemn them.
Rebekah Metzler is a political writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter.