Bonanza: Romney Raises $170 Million in September

Posted: Oct 15, 2012 3:51 PM

Mitt Romney's presidential campaign and the Republican National Committee brought in more than $170 million in September, coming close to matching President Obama's record $181 million haul last month.  Romney's previous high water mark was $111 million, in August.  USA Today has more:

Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee raised nearly $170.5 million last month, about $11 million less than President Obama and his Democratic allies. Romney and various GOP committees say they have about $191.2 million cash on hand. The Romney campaign says 93.1% of its donations came in denominations of $250 or less. That represented more than 1 million contributions, the campaign says. Under campaign finance rules, donations of $200 or less are considered "small" donations. Romney has traditionally raised the bulk of his campaign funds in chunks of $2,500 -- the maximum amount an individual can contribute to one election.

The most important number here is "cash on hand," or the amount of money the combined RNC/Romney effort has at its disposal.  As the report states, the GOP is sitting on just over $191 million -- a mountain of money with three weeks remaining until the election.  Perhaps tellingly, the Obama campaign and DNC will not release their cash on hand numbers.  Reports have surfaced recently that the DNC is in fairly dire straits in this regard (more debt than COH), and the Obama camp's "burn rate" is legendary.  All told, it's likely that Team Romney will be equipped with significantly greater resources than its rival over the campaign's home stretch.  And they're not done yet.  The New York Times reports that in addition to the substantial wave of cash that flowed in from small donors after Mitt Romney's debate victory on October 3rd, Republicans are launching one final high-dollar fundraising surge this week:

The announcement kicked off a three-day retreat for donors at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria hotel, where the campaign is seeking to capitalize on a burst of enthusiasm among formerly jittery donors — who were thrilled by Mr. Romney’s strong first debate performance — to recruit new donors and persuade old ones to give the maximum allowed by law. Donors, who will be treated to a Debate Watch Party at the Roseland Ballroom featuring the comedian Dennis Miller, will also spend part of the retreat working the phones in a miniature call-a-thon intended to wring out as many last-minute dollars as possible. The effort will mark an unprecedented experiment in last-minute high-dollar fund-raising by a presidential campaign...The three-day retreat in New York is a follow-up event to the star-studded “Republicanpalooza” the campaign held in June in Park City, Utah.

The $50,000 entrance fee, which most of the donors long ago raised, gets Mr. Romney’s “Founding Partners and Members” and “Stars and Stripes” club members into a dinner Monday night at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, as well as a packed day of panels Tuesday. Headliners at the Intrepid dinner include Representative Paul D. Ryan, Mr. Romney’s running mate; Rudolph W. Guiliani, former mayor of New York City; Reince Preibus, the Republican National Committee chairman, Donald Trump; and Mr. Zwick. Mr. Ryan is also hosting his own cocktail and photo reception Monday afternoon at the Hilton New York — $1,000 per person and $5,000 for a photo.

As for Chicago's radio silence over cash on hand figures, a Republican strategist concedes that they're not required to disclose that number.  That being said, he says the decision to withhold the figure is "never a sign of strength."

UPDATE - Whoa, Romney's debate performance had a major impact with small donors.  This is from small contributors alone: