Thanks to Obama Campaign, Democrats Enjoy Cash Advantage

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Democrats are heading into the general election against Mitt Romney with a sizable cash advantage over their GOP rivals.

Democratic committees have a combined war chest of $195 million, including cash held at the end of April by Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action.

Republicans, meanwhile, held $105 million at the end of April. That includes cash-on-hand totals for Romney for president, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future.

In the aggregate, Democrats are buoyed by Obama's massive cash-on-hand edge over Romney. At the end of April, the president's campaign reported having $115 million in the bank; Romney's reported having $9.2 million.

Obama has enjoyed a heavy fundraising advantage that dates back to millions left over from his 2008 White House bid. Obama's campaign held $61 million on Sept. 30, 2011. At the time, Romney had $14.7 million.

Despite Obama's lack of a primary, the president's campaign has spent far more than Romney's since 2008. Since the beginning of the 2012 campaign cycle, Obama has outspent Romney $165 million to $90 million.

Romney is catching up to the president in fundraising, and his current total is likely larger than the just-reported April sum, thanks to his new joint-fundraising endeavor with the RNC. Romney, the RNC, and the new joint committee announced a combined $40.1 million raised in April; Obama, the DNC, and the joint Obama Victory Fund raised $43.6 million.

Money raised jointly was not reported on Sunday's FEC filings, and the joint committee will not begin filing with the FEC until July. Combined, Romney and the RNC could effectively have as much as $20 million more in cash than was reported on Sunday.

Also aiding Republicans, the super PAC American Crossroads reported having $25.5 million at the end of April. To compete with Crossroads' ambitious election-year spending plan, Democrats will rely partly on two super PACs geared toward Senate and House races, Majority PAC and House Majority PAC. Founded more recently than Crossroads, those groups have lagged in cash, holding a combined $4.4 million at the time of their last FEC disclosures on March 31.

Both Crossroads and Priorities USA have 501(c)4 arms, which do not regularly report fundraising or cash on hand, making it impossible to know how much money Democrats and Republicans truly have at their disposals at any given time.

Factoring in Romney's new joint fundraising endeavor, and the GOP's significant super PAC advantage, it is likely that Democrats still lead Republicans by about $50 million in cash on hand.