The thing about the set of leaked videos from a Romney fundraiser that nobody is talking about is this part: The video was taken at a $50,000 per plate fundraiser in Florida. You may not have noticed, but despite the blur there are a lot of plates in front of a lot of people.
This is what people are still not grasping about Romney: He’s about to open up the money floodgates in a way that Obama can’t match.
Romney was wildly successful during the primaries — not as a result of his charm and personality — but because he had a massive pile of money.
He still has a massive pile of money in his campaign coffers, and by all margins he’s continuing to raise large amounts of money, as we’ve found through a look into the Center for Responsive Politics’ database.
While Obama has raised similar amounts of money as Romney, he’s also spent a whole lot of it already. Obama has enjoyed weeks of good coverage, but he’s been paying a lot for it.
The Obama campaign has spent $240 million this cycle and has only managed to maintain their lead. Even more, the Obama camp didn’t have to go through a primary. Romney has spent much, much less — $163 million — and most of that was in the primaries anyway.
Romney is in a financial holding pattern, one that ends very soon.
But the most important number in all of this is cash on hand. How much is each campaign — and more importantly, their most significant direct outside supporters — holding for October?
Given the way that contribution limits work, the financial status of friendly outside spending groups is a much more crucial gauge of financial support.
While each candidate can only accept $2,500 per donor per election, the Party Committees can accept $30,800. Even more, the Super PACs can raise and spend unlimited amounts, which is a much better picture of how the air war is about to proceed.
Here’s the breakdown. The numbers are rounded to the nearest $100,000:
Walter Hickey/BI, data from Center for Responsive Politics
The top allies of the Romney campaign are his PAC Restore Our Future, the Republican National Committee, and American Crossroads. Obama’s main surrogates are the DNC, Priorities USA, and — at least in this election — the SEIU.
Right now, the Super PACs supporting either candidate are at an even larger financial disparity. Romney’s Restore Our Future has $20.5 million in the bank at this point moving forward, and the anti-Obama American Crossroads is sitting on $29.5 million. Obama’s Super PAC has a mere $4.2 million on hand right now.
Even more, the DNC has had an awful time holding on to money this election, and the RNC has close to a hundred million in the bank right now, ready to bombard Ohio or Florida or Virginia with advertisements.
So think of it this way: The Obama campaign paid $32,300 per daytime spot; $340,000 per primetime spot during the Olympics, hitting the entire country in the process. With the $46 million difference between primary Obama reserves and Romney reserves, how many more of those ads can Romney buy up?
Even, more, who needs national ads? Hitting the entire state of Nevada during Wheel of Fortune costs pennies compared the NBC Primetime Olympic buy.
Here’s what it comes down to …
Both Romney and Obama have been fundraising consistently for months. But Romney has kept his head down and his account flush, and didn’t try to compete with the Olympics, the Conventions, or the recent mediocre press. He was competent enough to realize that the Obama campaign had to hemorrhage cash in order to maintain their numbers.
And now, he’s got a massive upper hand, which very few people are talking about. Once he and his surrogates carpet bomb the swing states with adverts, by shear mathematics Obama will take a small but predictable dive in the polls. In the middle of October, Mitt starts looking like a contender again.
The past few weeks of Mediocre Mitt are about to end. He’s got more resources than the Obama campaign, and his ability to find cheap media markets and flex his muscle are just coming to the fore. This, plus a few more bad economic months, and he’s in the White House. Mitt is undervalued.
The real race is just getting started.