The monthly FEC fundraising filings are in for May, and the numbers reveal that despite having his best month yet, John McCain was still narrowly outraised by Barack Obama. For the month, McCain raised $20.9 million and Obama $22 million. Obama has $33.3 million in cash on hand, while McCain has $31.6 million. McCain also moved $1 million from his Senate account over to his presidential campaign.
Although he had a good month in May, McCain still trails Obama by a margin of around 2.5 to 1 for the entire campaign season. At the end of April, Obama had raised $265.4 million to McCain’s $96.7 million. May is typically a slow fundraising month, so it is no surprise that Obama had his weakest month to date. McCain is expected to rely heavily on the Republican National Committee to fund his campaign, and here the RNC has $53.5 million in cash compared to under $4 million for the Democratic National Committee.
This disparity between the two parties can partially be explained by the fact that the DNC did not have a nominee to fundraise with in order to fill the party’s coffers. Since Obama became the nominee, attention has shifted to bringing the Democrats up to par with the GOP. However, it is a little disingenuous to count party funds in with the candidates. Party funds are used for a variety of campaigns and activities all around the country. This is not funding that the presidential campaigns have ready access to.
I believe that these numbers should serve as a wakeup call to Democrats who thought that the GOP was going to lie down and give the White House to Obama. For decades, the Republicans have been out raising the Democrats. McCain’s haul last month was impressive, but the Obama money machine should be able to bury him once it kicks into gear.
Obama will probably be able to outspend McCain by a large amount, but this will happen not because Republicans didn’t give enough to McCain, but because Obama has built a grassroots fundraising network, the likes of which American politics has never seen before.