Now that Mitt Romney has finally clinched the Republican presidential nomination, the money race has started to turn against Barack Obama. Romney outraised Obama by nearly $17 million in May. The Republican National Committee's fundraising haul doubled, as it was the first full month the RNC partnered with the Romney campaign.
This reversal prompted Jonathan Chait to ask if Romney and his supporters might simply "spend Obama dry." Chait points to a poll showing Romney with a 1-point lead in Michigan, where his father George was once governor:
As First Read points out, pro-Republican groups have spent $3.4 million in the state this year, compared with zero for Obama and his supporters. Could that kind of advantage move a state like Michigan into a tie? Possibly. Obama would surely pull back ahead if he spent some money there....
Obama doesn't need to match Romney's spending to win Michigan, but if he gets outspent, say, 10 million to nothing, he could lose the state. Republicans have the money to dump into safe Democratic states and force Obama to defend them. If it works in Michigan, it could work in other blue states, too. The point isn't to win those states. The point is to drain Obama's resources for the states he really does need to compete in, like Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, and so on.
Despite Chait's handwringing, I think we'll begin to see Democratic billionaires opening up their wallets for Obama just like those nasty Republican billionaires have done for Romney. But yes, the money going to Romney and Republican super PACs creates the possibility that Obama will have to defend his own turf this fall.
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