The world of campaign finance can be confusing, so we've spent our afternoon making sense of breathless summer election reports to explain what, exactly, is happening with the Romney and Obama campaign bank accounts.
The Obama campaign spent $70.8 million in June, according to campaign finance reports filed on Friday. Of that total, $43 million was spent on advertising: $38 million went into television advertising, about $4.5 million on online advertising alone. To his credit, if we're looking at who won the advertising war in June it's very clear it was Obama and not Romney.
On the other hand, the Romney campaign spent $38.8 million in June, almost half of what the Obama campaign spent. The Romney campaign took in a whole lot more money than Obama, though. They raised over $100 million in June. Falling far behind the Obama campaign, Romney only spent about $11 million on advertising in June.
What's interesting is how much money the two campaigns have access to before their national conventions later this summer. Check out this part of Politico's report:
Romney’s campaign and its allied fundraising committees reported $170 million in cash reserves at the end of June. That’s $26 million more than Obama and the top Democratic committees had in their coffers, according to the latest campaign finance reports released Friday.
This would mean Romney's campaign has way more money to spend than Obama's does. But, as the New York Times points out, that's not the case. The campaigns aren't allowed to spend the money raised by the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee until the parties have held their respective conventions. The financial picture over the next few weeks, after that's factored in, is drastically different. Obama's campaign has $72 million to spend until the end of August, while the Romney campaign only has about $20 million. The floodgates open after that.
The other significant part of the today's campaign finance news is that the Romney campaign is closing the gap on small donations. The Obama campaign raised $12 million from donations under $200, but Romney's campaign raised about $10 million in small donations, closing the gap on a territory of campaign fundraising most people thought Obama had on lockdown.