(AP) WASHINGTON - Facing strong fundraising from his Republican challenger, President Barack Obama and Democrats have spent more than they brought in last month as the president expanded his campaign operations and purchased millions of dollars in television advertising to compete with rival Mitt Romney.
New campaign finance reports out Monday show Obama's campaign spent about $59 million in July, much of it on advertising and paid staff. That's compared with about $49.2 million in total receipts during the same period, Federal Election Commission data show.
Obama's re-election effort has so far been losing the money race to Romney and the Republicans, who have out-raised the president in May, June and July. Romney and the GOP reported a combined $101 million in fundraising last month, while Obama and the Democrats together said they raised $75 million.
Early reports showed the Democratic National Committee spent about $14 million in coordinated advertising with Obama. That's as the DNC raised roughly $10 million in July while also spending $32 million, leaving the party with about $15.4 million in the bank by month's end.
The fundraising disparity has been so significant that Obama campaign officials have publicly stated they expect to be outraised by Romney. The former Massachusetts governor has enjoyed not only significant contributions to his campaign and party, but also millions of dollars in cash to outside "super" political groups running ads on his behalf.
In turn, Obama's campaign spent about $40 million in July on advertising buys, about $8.8 million of which was reserved for online advertising. Obama's campaign has prided itself on being a tech-savvy operation and relies mostly on small-dollar donors via the Internet, where such targeted ads run.
By contrast, Romney's campaign reported $40.3 million in July revenues and spending $32.7 million. Just like for Obama, a bulk of those expenses went to advertising purchases, although only about $15.5 million by comparison. The new data show Romney had fewer than half the number of paid staffers as Obama, or about 320.
"At some point, with all of the money spent on the air on the GOP side, advertising will hit a saturation point," Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said. "And that's why the unparalleled ground organization we're building — which can't be replicated in the time remaining — could provide us with the decisive edge."
Obama's campaign has also swelled to more than 800 paid staffers across the country, the reports showed, not counting volunteers. More than 350 of those payroll checks went to addresses in Chicago, the campaign's base of operations.
Super PACs working on behalf of both Romney and Obama reported modest fundraising hauls in July. The pro-Romney Restore Our Future, which just announced $10 million in new ad buys, raised $7.5 million last month, and Obama-supportive Priorities USA Action said it brought in $4.8 million during the same period.
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