Romney’s local fundraising tops Obama

Posted: November 6, 2012

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — With voters headed to the polls today, local donors have done their part in what has become the most expensive presidential campaign of all time.

From Sept. 1 to Oct. 17, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney continued to outraise President Barack Obama in Winchester and Frederick and Clarke counties, although the president had more contributors.

Romney hauled in $46,428 from 159 contributions for an average pledge of $292. Obama received 398 contributions totaling $36,534, for an average of $91.79.

Since May 1, Romney has raised $90,050 compared to $70,020 for Obama.

Through Oct. 17, Obama had outraised Romney nationally $632.2 million to $388.7 million, including a $14.5 million to $12.7 million advantage in Virginia.

But Romney has benefited much more from super PACs and outside nonprofit groups, which have been spending at record levels.

These groups have spent a combined $328.8 million opposing the president and $137.8 million in opposition to Romney.

The Supreme Court decided in 2010 that political action committees (PACs) can accept unlimited donations — which added the “super” to PAC — but they must disclose their donors.

“Social welfare” groups can raise unlimited money and are not required to disclose their donors, as long as they are promoting the “social welfare.”

The effect has been dramatic.

Outside groups that are technically unaffiliated with campaigns have spent $1.277 billion nationwide on various races. Much of that money comes from undisclosed contributions.

In 2008, outside groups spent $204.7 million, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

In the 10th Congressional District race, incumbent Republican Frank Wolf maintained a huge financial advantage over challengers Kristin Cabral, a Democrat, and Kevin Chisholm, an Independent.

Federal Election Commission data, which is available only through June 30, shows that Wolf raised $448,473 from Feb. 1, 2011, while Cabral — who declared her candidacy in April — had brought in $65,850.

Records for Chisholm are unavailable, but he said he has received less than $5,000 in contributions.

Wolf had received 51 contributions from Winchester and Frederick and Clarke counties totaling $24,710, an average of $484.50.

Of Cabral’s total, only one $250 contribution came from Winchester or Frederick and Clarke counties.

— Contact Conor Gallagher at cgallagher@winchesterstar.com