By Maeve Reston, Los Angeles Times –
CINCINNATI — Buoyed by his strong performances in the first two debates, Mitt Romney raised $111.8 million from Oct. 1 to Oct. 17 — the quickest clip of the Republican’s campaign so far.
Romney appears to have burned through a substantial amount of cash in the last two weeks. His campaign reported having $169 million on hand between various party committees — a drop of $22 million from the end of September, despite his massive fundraising haul during that period.
While President Barack Obama is expected to raise as much a $1 billion for his effort, Romney has exceeded the goals set by his campaign. His much-praised performance at the first debate in Denver brought a surge of donations, including online from small donors — an area in which Obama has long bested Romney.
Romney’s spokeswoman Andrea Saul tweeted on the night of the first debate that Romney was getting two donations a second. The campaign said it raised $12 million in donations in less than 48 hours following the debate.
Top donors to Romney also met for their final retreat at the Waldorf Astoria in mid-October in New York. In one afternoon, they targeted donors who had contributed to his primary campaign but not the full $2,500 limit to his general election campaign, raising more than $2 million in 45 minutes.
Through September, Obama had raised $947 million through his re-election campaign, the Democratic Party and affiliated committees. Romney, meanwhile, had raised $815 million through his campaign committee, the Republican Party and other joint fundraising committees. That total does not include funds held in state parties that can be used to bolster his ground game.
During the final three weeks of the campaign, aides told donors at the retreat in Manhattan the campaign planned to spend nearly two-thirds of their remaining money on ads, more than a quarter on voter contacts and 5 percent on its digital operation.