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Team Romney raises over $170 million in September


BOSTON -- Mitt Romney's campaign and its allies announced their best fundraising month ever in September, raising $170 million dollars and reporting more than $191 million in cash on hand as the campaign enters its final stretch.

Charles Dharapak / AP

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney campaigns in front of The Golden Lamb Inn and Restaurant in Lebanon, Ohio, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012.

The figure accounts for the combined fundraising efforts of the Romney campaign, the Republican National Committee and the consortium of state Republican parties that make up the Romney Victory fund. The total falls more than $10 million short of the Obama team's total fundraising haul of $181 million dollars in the same time period.

Despite being outraised by the Obama team, the $170 million total will likely be viewed with relief in Republican circles, as September was widely seen as Romney's weakest month. The candidate's highly damaging comments about 47 percent of Americans who view themselves as "victims" who depend on government broke in September, and dominated headlines and media coverage. The Romney team was also forced to parry stories about campaign infighting and backbiting, and polling that showed President Barack Obama opening larger leads over Romney across a slew of swing states.

Romney advisers had complained for weeks of an Obama campaign advertising advantage in several swing states, most notably Ohio. Much of the $191 million remaining in the Romney team's coffers is certain to be earmarked for television ads in the Buckeye State, as well as the expensive media markets in Virginia, Florida and other critical swing states.

Success may also beget further success for the Romney team. The candidate's strong debate performance spurred a burst of donations in early October, according to top bundlers, and the timing of this release of information -- as top donors from around the country gather in New York City for a retreat -- is likely to boost enthusiasm even more.

"With less than one month left, we will continue the hard work of raising the resources to ensure that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan can win in November and bring real change to the American people," Romney finance chairman Spencer Zwick said in a statement accompanying the release.

Underscoring that point, the campaign's schedule of major finance events continues, with Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan taking over headlining duties. Ryan attends a finance event at a midtown hotel in New York tonight, and will raise money in donor-rich Texas later this week.

Reuters, Getty Images

In the final push in the 2012 presidential election, candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama make their last appeals to voters.