Monday, March 19, 2012
President Obama raised $45 million for his re-election bid in February, bringing his total to about $300 million for this election cycle, his campaign said Monday.
Obama increased fundraising efforts during the month, collecting nearly twice as much as the $23 million per month average he raised during the final three months of 2011 and more than the $29.1 million he raised in January. The money was spread among Obama's campaign, the Democratic party and two campaign funds.
Obama's campaign said nearly 350,000 people contributed in February, and the average donation was about $59 for the entire election cycle. Nearly 98 percent of the donations were $250 or less.
The fundraising reports were being filed ahead of a Tuesday campaign finance deadline for presidential campaigns.
With Republicans locked in an extended primary campaign to win that party's nomination, Obama's team has tried to build a large 50-state operation that will help it register new voters, bring back past supporters and boost turnout. Obama's campaign had about $75 million in the bank through the end of January, and totals for February were not immediately available.
Campaign officials have implored supporters to donate money and get involved, pointing to Republican-leaning super political action committees that are expected to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to defeat the president. Obama's campaign said earlier this year that it would bless big-money super PACs supporting Democrats as a way of countering the Republican effort. That was a turnaround from Obama's earlier opposition to the new groups.
In an email to donors last week, campaign manager Jim Messina cited a poll showing Obama trailing against Republican front-runner Mitt Romney and asked them to get involved.
"We're looking at a race that will be tighter than you think. And the other side has groups ready to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to tear down President Obama," Messina said.
Obama's totals for February fell short of the $56 million he raised in February 2008, when he was seeking the Democratic nomination against now-Secratary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Republicans said it was a sign of tepid support.
Kirsten Kukowski, a Republican National Committee spokeswoman, said Obama was "having a hard time convincing voters he deserves another term" following three years of "record debt, high unemployment and soaring gas prices and health care costs."
Obama has boosted fundraising efforts in recent weeks, holding events last month in Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. Last week, Obama raised money in Chicago and Atlanta.