Romney's Midas touch turns up heat on Obama

  • @dusborne

Mitt Romney, who has built his political brand partly on his record as a master money maker, is showing similar strength as a campaign fundraiser with new figures showing him opening a daunting cash advantage over President Barack Obama.

Latest disclosure filings by the competing camps in this year's presidential race show that as of the end of July, Governor Romney and the Republican National Committee had $186m (£118m) in the bank compared to a more modest $124m for the Obama campaign and the Democrats.

Accurately assessing the cash battle is difficult, however, because it is not just the finances of the campaigns that have to be considered but also the towering sums being spent by outside organisations on their behalves, notably the so-called super PACs as well as other tax-exempt groups. Put those into the mix and the Republican edge looks even larger. Mr Obama's reserves are lower also by virtue of heavy spending in recent weeks to pay for expansive groundwork operations notably in the 20-odd battleground states that will decide the election and for intensive television advertising.

One worrying sign for the incumbent: the Democrats and the Obama campaign spent $91m in July while raising only $75m. Mr Romney remains behind Mr Obama in most swing-state polling, if only by fairly small margins, but his fund-raising heft will be an important consolation as he heads to Tampa for next week's Republican Convention. It will also be a source of unfamiliar anxiety for Mr Obama who, in 2008, left his convention with an enormous cash advantage over his then rival, John McCain.

"Governor Romney will have the resources needed to run a vigorous fall campaign and force the President to compete in states he never thought he'd need to defend," campaign spokesman Ryan Williams told Politico.