Forget $1 billion, the $3 billion campaign is here

We've heard projections of the $1 billion campaign.

That was months ago. Now, see the $3 billion campaign.

Campaigns, parties, and PACs have raked in over $2.9 billion so far this year, and spent over $2 billion, according to a Federal Election Commission analysis of the first 15 months of the 2012 cycle released on Monday.

That includes monies brought in by the campaigns and allies of President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, Romney's former GOP rivals, more than 1,100 campaigns for seats in the House and Senate, plus funds raised by party committees, PACs, and super PACs. The FEC numbers include contributions and spending from January 2011 through March 2012.

The single largest portion of the $2.9 billion raised was brought in by political action committees, which accounted for $986.4 million. The committees have spent $785 million so far, leaving money still in their coffers, and for many of the most influential groups, the wells are far from dry.

The presidential campaigns -- including those candidates for the GOP nomination who dropped out -- accounted for $418 million.

Senior advisers to Obama's campaign told reporters last Friday that they foresee Romney raising over $1 billion this year -- and possibly $100 million this month.

That follows months of rumors that Obama, who raised $778 million last cycle, might hit $1 billion for his re-election bid -- something his campaign advisers have rejected.

Both candidates are well on their way.

Romney's campaign and allies raised $77 million in May, outraising the president's re-election and allies for the first time. Obama's campaign and allies brought in $60 million that month.

Romney's campaign had raised $123 million through the end of May, the cutoff for the most recent financial disclosure documents available.

Obama's campaign had even more through the same period: $261 million.

And now, the campaigns are coordinating their fund-raising through joint committees, the Obama and Romney Victory Funds, which include the candidate's party and some state party committees.

Candidates for the House and Senate have raised $884 million thus far, approximately two-thirds of that by campaigns for House seats.

That's more than twice the amount raised by congressional campaigns at this point in 2002, and $27 million more than campaigns for a seat on Capitol Hill at this point in 2010.

The Democratic National Committee has thus far outraised the Republican National Committee, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have outraised their GOP counterparts, the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Campaign Committee.

All together, Democratic committees have raised $351 million to the Republicans' $304 million so far this cycle.

The total haul of national, state, and local party committees is $658 million, according to the FEC report.


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