In what is likely going to become a monthly event, the Obama campaign announced today that they have shattered their own fundraising record of $55 million by raising $66 million in August. There is little doubt that the combination of the Democratic Convention and the selection of Sarah Palin have energized Democrats.
Obama campaign manager David Plouffe used the announcement to reaffirm Obama as the real agent of change, “John McCain says that he’ll take on the special interests and lobbyists, but McCain can’t fix a problem he’s been part of for three decades. The 500,000 new donors to the Obama campaign demonstrate just how strongly the American people are looking to kick the special interests out and change Washington. We are proud of the millions of volunteers and more than 2.5 million donors to the Obama campaign who are contributing to help us deliver the change we need instead of letting John McCain just continue the same failed Bush policies while middle class Americans struggle.”
I think Obama was going to have a big month, regardless, but the selection of Palin, and the closeness of the polls woke up many Obama supporters. The McCain campaign had a big month as well raising $50 million in August, and $10 million after Palin was chosen, but the Obama camp also benefitted from her selection. They raised a million dollars the day after she was chosen.
The more important number than the dollar amount is the fact that even though Obama has been campaigning for almost 2 years, he was still was able to gather a half of a million new donors. A total donor list of 2.5 million people is massive and unprecedented in American electoral politics. Obama is amassing a huge grassroots network of donors and volunteers that the Republicans can’t match.
In the end it won’t be the amount of money raised that wins this election, but whether or not Obama’s operation on the ground can get people out to vote on Election Day. Palin revived the McCain campaign, but she has also been a reality check for some Democrats who were happy to cruise along and assume victory in November. Obama’s August fundraising total is a clear signal that Democrats are energized, united, and ready to take on McCain/Palin.