No question Republicans supporting Mitt Romney’s White House bid should and will be pleased that his campaign raised more money in May than President Obama’s effort.
As our sister news blog, NPR’s The Two Way, reported, Romney’s campaign and the Republican National Committee raised nearly $77 million in May compared with $60 million raised by Obama and the Democratic National Committee. It was the first time Romney’s combined efforts raised more than Obama’s for a given period.
Here’s something worth remembering, however. Back in 2004, the last time a president with so-so voter approval ratings — George W. Bush — ran for re-election, he was outraised in May by Sen. John Kerry, the Democrat who at that time was his party’s all-but-official presidential nominee. (h/t Nick Confessore at the New York Times.)
From an old George Washington University web site called Democracy in Action with a summary of Kerry’s May 2004 fundraising results:
“May 2004 (June Monthly Report): In May the campaign reported outraising the Bush campaign for the third straight month and reaching its 2004 goal of $100 million nearly 2 months early. In the month the campaign raised $10.8 million from direct mail and phones (141,000 contributions from mail and phones in the month) and over $9 million at JohnKerry.com (90,000 contributions).”
Both the Republican and Democratic efforts boasted of receiving many of their contributions from small donors who gave $250 or less. The campaigns use that as a proxy for how much grass roots support each has as well as for a level of excitement they hope will extend into November.
Romney’s campaign said 93 percent of all donations came from those smaller donors; the Obama campaign said 98 percent of its donors gave less than $250, a measure that would presumably exclude donations of $250.
But in a telling statistic, the Romney effort said only $12 million, or about 16 percent of its contributions came from small donors. The Obama campaign didn’t provide a similar percentage in the information it initially released.