The New York Times reported this morning that the combined raised total for Romney and the RNC was $40.1 million in April, with Romney having $61.4 million in the bank: in comparison, Obama/the DNC raised $43.6 million. Barack Obama’s own cash on hand for April – it was $104.1 million at the end of March – and we probably won’t be told it until the Sunday deadline, or possibly a little later than that. Though, to be fair, Romney and the RNC haven’t submitted their latest fundraising reports to the FEC, either.
Also: while I give points to the NYT for mentioning that this was a significant jump from Romney’s March haul of $12.6 million, they might have kept comparing apples-to-apples and included the RNC’s March fundraising total ($13.7 million). Or noted that the Democrats’ $43.6 million number for April represents a drop from March’s $53 million. Then again, I suppose that there’s a narrative in place.
The real question, of course, is just how much any of this means. Answer: thanks to the latest round of campaign finance reform, not as much as it would have in 2008. Romney and the RNC having this money is good, because it’ll fund infrastructure, campaign worker payrolls, GOTV efforts, and everything else you need to apply a force multiplier to local/grassroots efforts. And they’ll have the money to get the specific message that they want out. But, thanks to the Citizens United case, groups with an interest in the election have a much larger opportunity to have their voices heard, this cycle. Given that the central message this election will be Are you better off now than you were… heck, last month? you can imagine how much this upsets the Democratic party, despite the fact that nobody’s stopping them from likewise grabbing a microphone and singing out.
One last note: I don’t like lumping Romney and the RNC together like this, because it implies that the relationship between the two is essentially identical to that of Obama to the DNC. Which is false. Romney does not control the RNC the way that Obama owns the DNC; obviously the RNC will be working with the candidate, and naturally the Presidential race is the big one this year. But there are still House and Senate races for the national committee’s consideration. I note this because the DCCC and DSCC have been already told that there’s no DNC money for them*, and they are not happy about it…
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*In contrast, the RNC, NRCC, and NRSC have created an interlocking support network for the three national committees, including financial assistance when necessary.