WASHINGTON - Fighting to keep his job, President Obama spent more money than he raised in May, and ended the month with a $109.7 million in cash reserves - a more than 6-to-1 advantage over his Republican rival Mitt Romney, federal reports filed Wednesday show.
Obama, who has been able to accumulate cash as Romney fended off primary challengers, spent three times more in May than he did in April, reflecting new investments in staff - a total of 703 campaign workers in May, up from 631 a month earlier - and the barrage of television commercials in battleground states that have touted his record and slammed presumptive GOP nominee Romney's business career.
Nearly half of the contributions to Obama's main campaign account last month came from donors who gave $200 or less, contributors he will need to tap again as he tries to match Romney's fundraising, which surged ahead of Obama's last month for the first time. A quarter of Romney's May donations came in small amounts.
Romney and the Republican Party reported collecting $76.8 million in May, nearly $17 million more than Obama and the Democratic National Committee. The bulk of that, however, went to party and joint fundraising committees. Romney's campaign raised $23.4 million, records show, while Obama's raised $39.1 million.
The Republican National Committee, now an extension of Romney's campaign, ended May with $60.8 million in the bank - cash reserves that it can deploy to help build a get-out-the-vote for the former Massachusetts governor. That's twice the amount of cash reserves held by the DNC.
Obama campaign officials have raised the specter of being outspent by Romney and his supporters, as wealthy Republicans continue to write big checks to conservative super PACs and non-profit advocacy groups.
Restore Our Future, a super PAC helping Romney, took in nearly $5 million in May, besting the $4 million that a pro-Obama group, Priorities USA Action, said it collected last month.
Roughly $1 out of every $5 Restore Our Future collected in May came from three Dayton companies that share an address. The three Ohio firms - CRC Information Systems Inc., Fairbanks Properties, LLC and Waterbury Properties, LLC - share a post office box with Reynolds and Reynolds, a Dayton company that provides services to auto dealers, federal records and company websites show.
Reynolds and Reynolds CEO Robert Brockman donated $5,000 to Romney's campaign in April, federal records show. Brockman did not return a telephone call Wednesday afternoon.
The $1 million in contributions from the three Ohio firms underscore the ability of wealthy donors to contribute large sums to influence the election. Recent court rulings and federal regulations have created a two, parallel campaign-finance systems - one in which individual donors can give no more than $5,000 directly to a candidate for the primary and general election, and another that allows donors to pump millions of dollars from their corporate treasuries into super PACs and non-profit groups that can raise and spend unlimited amounts to influence the election.
Other large donors to Restore Our Future include Frank VanderSloot, an Idaho businessman singled out recently by Obama's campaign after his company donated $1 million to the super PAC. VanderSloot, cast as a victim of harassment by conservatives, gave another $100,000 to the super PAC in May.
Executives at The Villages, a Florida retirement community, gave more than $400,000 last month to the pro-Romney group.
The reports offered signs that more Republicans are rallying around Romney since he has clinched the nomination. For example, Trevor Rees-Jones, a Dallas oil and gas executive who gave $100,000 last year to a super PAC aiding Texas Gov. Rick Perry's failed presidential bid, opted to donate $100,000 to the pro-Romney super PAC May 8, records show. He did not return telephone calls.
Billionaire casino executive Sheldon Adelson reportedly has donated $10 million to Restore Our Future, but that contribution has not yet been disclosed in filings with the Federal Election Commission.
Among political groups targeting congressional races:
•A super PAC established by Houston construction company owner Leo Linbeck III spent $642,181 last month to defeat incumbent congressmen in party primaries. The lion's share of the Campaign for Primary Accountability's war chest comes from Linbeck himself, who contributed $260,000 last month to bring his total contributions to $740,000. He has also loaned the super PAC $390,000.
The super PAC has taken credit for unseating a number of incumbents already, including Reps. Tim Holden, D-Pa.; Don Manzullo, R-Ill.; Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas; and Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio.
•FreedomWorks for America, a Tea Party-affiliated super PAC that spent more than $777,000 this year to oppose Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch and May with $1.2 million in cash, ahead of a June 26 GOP primary that pits Hatch, a 36-year incumbent against former state senator Dan Liljenquist.