October 20, 2008
Obama Raises More Than $150 Million in September
By MICHAEL LUO
Senator Barack Obama’s campaign announced on Sunday that it had raised more than $150 million in September, a record-shattering amount underscoring again the unprecedented amounts of money he has attracted.
Mr. Obama’s contributions in September more than doubled the $66 million he had collected in August, which had already far exceeded what previous presidential campaigns had raised in a single month.
In a videotaped message included in an e-mail to supporters, David Plouffe, the Obama campaign manager, said that Mr. Obama had added 632,000 new donors in September, bringing the campaign’s total to 3.1 million. The average contribution, Mr. Plouffe said, was $86.
Mr. Plouffe said the money has enabled the campaign to expand to traditional Republican strongholds, noting it had begun to pour resources into West Virginia. He also sought to portray the campaign’s fund-raising success as evidence of Mr. Obama’s grassroots support.
“The two groups that have given us the most contributions are retirees and students, which shows how Barack’s call for change has spanned the generations,” Mr. Plouffe said. “Nurses, teachers, small business owners. It really is the fabric of America that has built this campaign.”
The full details of how the Obama campaign raised its money in September will not be available until Monday, when it files its official report with the Federal Election Commission. But a separate filing by the campaign’s joint fund-raising committee with the Democratic National Committee, the Obama Victory Fund, underscores that Mr. Obama has also been powered by major donors as well.
Mr. Obama’s joint fund-raising committee, which can take in checks of more than $30,000 that is divvied up between the campaign and the D.N.C., collected $69 million in September. The fund funneled $32 million in September to the Obama campaign’s coffers and $26.5 million to the D.N.C.
The D.N.C., which can spend money on Mr. Obama’s behalf under certain restrictions, announced this morning it collected nearly $50 million in September and had $27.4 million in cash on hand at the end of the month.
The Republican National Committee announced earlier this month it had raised $66 million in September, which had exceeded fundraisers’ expectations, and finished the month with about $77 million in the bank.
Mr. Obama’s fund-raising success comes in the wake of his decision to back away from an earlier pledge to accept public financing for the general election if his opponent did as well, a move the McCain campaign has sought to use against him.
McCain finance officials and other campaign-finance experts had anticipated that the R.N.C.’s stockpile of cash and strong fund-raising, along with the $84 million Mr. McCain received in public financing, would be enough to at least stay within range of the Obama fund-raising juggernaut. The R.N.C. finished August with $76 million in the bank, along with another $18 million transferred to it by the McCain campaign. But the Obama campaign has been outspending the McCain campaign by 4 to 1 on television, according to Campaign Media Analysis Group, which analyzes ad spending. The R.N.C. is limited to spending about $19 million in coordination with the McCain campaign but can spend unlimited amounts independently. Even with the R.N.C.’s independent expenditures factored in, the Obama campaign is still outspending Mr. McCain by 3 ½ to 1, according to CMAG.
Coupled with his appeals over the Internet, Mr. Obama has maintained an aggressive high-dollar fund-raising schedule. Just last week, 10 hours after he left the stage of the final presidential debate, he arrived at a morning fund-raiser at the Metropolitan Club in New York in which more than 120 people paid $30,800 each to hear him speak.
More than 600 people wrote checks of $25,000 or more to the Obama Victory Fund in September, including the actresses Melanie Griffith and Rita Wilson; Orlando Magic basketball star Dwight Howard; Andrea Jung, the chief executive of Avon; Gregory Brown, the president of the telecommunications giant Motorola; and Charles E. Phillips Jr., the president of the software company Oracle.
Mr. Obama has now raised more than $600 million since his campaign began, easily another record. Putting that figure in perspective, in 2004, Democratic and Republican presidential candidates together raised a record $684 million by the time of their conventions. (Both Senator John F. Kerry and President Bush later opted for public financing for the general election). That was nearly double the $350 million the candidates raised in 2000.
Before the Obama campaign, the record for the single biggest monthly fund-raising month was held by Senator John F. Kerry, when he collected $44 million in March 2004 after clinching the Democratic nomination. Mr. Obama exceeded that total last February, when he raised $55 million while competing against Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.