WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama's vast campaign operation raked in $86 million for his re-election and for the Democratic Party during the last three months, breaking records with a total far greater than that posted by his Republican opponents for the 2012 election.
Initially, the Obama campaign had set a goal of raising $60 million. Republican candidates combined are expected to raise less than $35 million this quarter.
The Obama amount points to the advantages of incumbency, and to the cost of the coming election, which this year will feature a new, powerful role for independent groups that can raise unlimited sums. This year, those groups could outraise and outspend the parties and the candidates.
The dollar total for Obama this quarter, announced by his campaign manager in a video message to supporters Wednesday morning, reflects $47 million raised for the Obama for America presidential campaign and an additional $38 million raised jointly with the Democratic National Committee.
In the video, campaign manager Jim Messina emphasized the record-breaking number of donors contributing — about 550,000 — and noted that the campaign does not accept funds from lobbyists or political action committees.
Still, the total dollars Obama raised were boosted this quarter thanks to a ramped up effort to court large dollar donors to joint events with the Democratic National Committee.
The Los Angeles Times reported recently that one program, called "Presidential Partners," seeks a two-year commitment in exchange for regular briefings and updates from the campaign. The price of admission: $75,800.
Obama's closest competitor in the GOP field, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, says he will report $18 million collected during the past three months.