Just in case Republicans need a reminder of the kind of organization the eventual GOP nominee will face in the general election this fall, the Associated Press reports today that, even without comparable travel expenses, Barack Obama has outspent all his GOP presidential rivals combined:
Obama, who faces no serious challenger for the Democratic nomination, has sunk his cash into an expansive brick-and-mortar operation with offices in nearly every state. His campaign has spent more than $135 million on operations through February, according to an Associated Press analysis of Federal Election Commission records. That’s about $3 million more than all his GOP challengers combined. …
A review of Obama’s balance sheets reveals a small army of paid staffers trying to help the Democratic president win a second term. Campaign filings list more than 330 paid staffers in Chicago and 200 more spread across the country – payroll costs that exceed $6.3 million during the last two months alone.
The numbers also suggest signs of stress.
Obama’s team has spent more than $7 million since January on fundraising-related expenses like postage, printing and telemarketing, in some cases to contact the same kind of low-dollar donors who supported Obama four years ago. The campaign also spent millions more on expenses like online advertising and consulting, which in some cases can be tied to fundraising.
With offices in nearly every state, the campaign also faces rising overhead. Through the first two months of the year, Obama spent approximately $1.1 million on computer equipment, $435,000 in rent and utilities, $305,000 on telephones, and $19,000 on office supplies, federal filings show.
Compare Obama’s more than 500 staffers with Mitt Romney’s 100, his $435,000 in rent to Romney’s $180,000 (or Rick Santorum’s $19,000) and it becomes apparent that Obama really has assembled a machine. Illinois Republican Rep. Aaron Schock cited Romney’s campaign organization as a reason to support the former Massachusetts governor, and, in light of information about Obama’s campaign, that doesn’t ring hollow. All the correct arguments in the world won’t win an election if no apparatus is in place to disseminate them. Should the Supreme Court decide the Obamacare individual mandate is unconstitutional, the argument against Romney wanes, as his most vulnerable issue would be off the table. At that point, conservatives could be justified for finding themselves suddenly excited by Romney’s impressive prep work and obvious determination to be both the GOP nominee and the president.