Gregory Korte and Fredreka Schouten, USA TODAY
October 6. 2012 - President Obama announced a fundraising haul of $181 million in September, the highest monthly total of his re-election campaign as 1.8 million people contributed.
The September numbers, which also include contributions to a joint fundraising unit through the Democratic National Committee, no doubt were buoyed by television exposure during the Democratic National Convention.
"It seems clear that many Obama supporters who were sitting on the sidelines became energized about this race last month," said Rick Hasen, a campaign finance expert at the University of California-Irvine. "As in 2008, the Obama campaign will be extremely well funded going into Election Day. But this time his opponent will be too. Neither side will be able to blame a loss on a lack of money."
Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said she didn't have his campaign's September report yet. But she noted in a tweet that Romney raised $12 million in less than 48 hours after his debate performance Wednesday night. Still, Romney would have to keep up that pace for a month to match Obama's September.
As it has from the beginning, Obama's campaign has paid particular attention to small-dollar donors. One fundraising e-mail from campaign manager Jim Messina last month asked for as little as $5, as he touted that the campaign was closing in on 10 million individual contributions.
But Obama also had splashy high-dollar fundraisers in September, including a $40,000-a-head event on Sept. 18 featuring power couple Beyonce and Jay-Z, which had been preceded by a $12,500 per family event at the Waldorf Astoria. Obama even took time amid from debate preparation for a series of end-of-the-month fundraisers.
The campaign announced the numbers in a series of tweets from the @BarackObama account, which also divulged these numbers:
-- The average contribution was $53.
-- Almost 4 million donors have given to the campaign since Obama launched his re-election bid April 2011.
-- About 30% of the people contributing last month had never given to the Obama campaign before -- either in 2008 or 2012.
New donors are significant late in a campaign because some of a candidate's most loyal givers have already given the maximum by now.
The September total tops the $114 raised in August. In September 2008, Obama raised $153 million.The monthly announcement did not reveal other numbers from the campaign's balance sheet, such as spending or cash on hand. Those won't come until the campaign makes its required disclosure to the Federal Election Commission later this month.