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President Obama’s re-election campaign brought in $42.8 million in the third quarter, a fundraising total that swells to $70 million if you count the money that he raised for the Democratic National Committee.
CNN and the Associated Press break down the numbers: Over 600,000 people donated, which exceeds the number of his record-breaking previous quarter; 980,000 people have donated to the re-election campaign so far, more than 200,000 of which are first-time donors; and the average donation for the most recent quarter was $56.
So how's he doing against the competition?
We'll know soon enough, as all campaigns must report their numbers to the Federal Election Commission by Saturday. Obama is expected to out-raise the entire Republican field combined, if previous numbers are any indication. Romney was in the front of the Republican pack for the first three months of his campaign, raising $18 million. The Perry campaign raised $17 million in its first seven weeks.
As the AP reports, Team Obama is nevertheless setting up the incumbent as the underdog, citing low poll numbers and the economy. The campaign had to cancel fundraising events this summer due to the debt ceiling fight.
The president’s numbers exceeded expectations planted by the campaign early in September, when it announced it expected to raise $55 million combined with the DNC. Still, the third-quarter total is roughly $16 million less than Obama raised in the previous quarter.
In an email to supporters, campaign manager Jim Messina referred to the campaign's anticipated "million grassroots donors." CNN notes that the campaign worked hard to target smaller donations. They even sponsored a contest for small donors, with a grand prize of a dinner with Obama.
Despite the importance of "grassroots" fundraising and campaigning for the Presidential race, The Wall Street Journal provides a bit of context: "A candidate's fund-raising will be only one funding stream affecting the election. A set of independent groups say they are raising hundreds of millions of dollars to back Republican candidates, including the party's presidential nominee. Allies of the president have set up their own independent groups."