Amid the mad dash for campaign cash, armchair pundits are chomping at the bit to extract meaning from the monthly tally of which candidate is on top. The latest reports show that Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney and his supporters raised $76.8 million in May compared to Camp Obama’s $60 million haul.
Until now, Romney had been trailing Obama in the fundraising race, prompting speculation about whether Romney is seeing a summer surge and Obama is losing his lead.
Charles Chamberlayne is a political strategist and former Senate spokesman. According to him, the numbers speak volumes. “Romney's steady messaging on the economy is starting to pay off. And unfortunately, for both America and President Obama, our economy is not where it should be,” he said.
Obama’s recent pivot on legalizing same-sex marriage may also play a role in energizing conservative support behind the Republican candidate. “You have to wonder if these numbers reflect the injection of this topic into the debate,” said Chamberlayne.
Even though Obama’s May total more than surpassed the $43.6 million raised last month, Romney’s new lead may be an indication that Republicans are now ready to put aside the ambivalence we saw during the primary season to stand firmly behind Romney as the presumptive nominee. Chamberlayne insists, “People, pundits and reporters alike like to pump up primary squabbles. But we've seen this story a thousand times. How quickly did we forget the same happened with Hillary Clinton and Obama in 2008. In the end, the party supports their candidate. There’s nothing new under the sun.”
Until now, there was never even so much as a question about President Obama’s prowess as a fundraiser. You may recall that the last election is replete with stories of all the fundraising records he set and shattered. And while it is still too early to assess what the latest fundraising trends mean at this point, people are bound to use the figures as a litmus test for the viability of the campaigns.
The question remains, what can Obama do to rekindle the enthusiasm of 2008 and how can Romney sustain the kind of momentum we are now beginning to see? “Romney only needs to stay the course, but if Obama can fix America's economy, he will win. But to do this, he has to embrace all solutions, not just the ones his party endorses,” said Chamberlayne.
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(Photos from left: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images, Scott Olson/Getty Images)