Barack Obama disclosed yesterday that he raised $35.9 million in the first 15 days of October, after a jaw-dropping $150 million in September.
Although his fundraising pace slowed, Obama's September-October surge all but guarantees that he will outspend John McCain and the Republican National Committee in the closing days of the presidential campaign.
The latest fundraising numbers provide further evidence that Obama made the right decision when he opted not to take federal funds for the general election campaign, instead relying on his ever-growing donor base of more than 3 million people, whose average donation size is $86.
McCain, by contrast, accepted a federal grant of $84.1 million. That money must last from the beginning of September through Nov. 4, although the Republican National Committee can also raise money and spend it on his behalf.
Obama and the Democratic National Committee are poised to outspend McCain by as much as a 3-to-2 margin, the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute concluded. Obama and the DNC spent $134.1 million in September, far more than the $108.6 million spent by McCain and the RNC.
In the first 15 days of October, Obama and the DNC spent a combined $117.6 million. That compares with $67 million by McCain and the RNC.
Obama had $65.7 million in the bank for the final three weeks of the campaign, plus a combined $30 million held by the DNC and a separate committee that Obama and the DNC control.
McCain and the RNC entered the campaign's final three weeks with a combined $84.4 million in the bank.
The RNC raised what was, for it, a record $66 million in September, but it failed to maintain that pace in the first half of October, when it raised $27 million.
McCain and Obama continued to use a legal loophole that allowed them to raise money for party committees far in excess of the $4,600 maximum that individual donors can give to their presidential accounts.