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The super-PAC backing President Obama had its best fundraising month yet in August, hauling in $10 million. That brings Priorities' total fundraising to roughly $35 million for the 2012 election, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. August's record haul, first reported by the New York Times, is good news for Priorities, but it reflects an uneasiness among wealthy Democratic donors about Obama's chances of reelection.
Many Democratic donors didn't feel the need to give to the pro-Obama super-PAC this winter and spring, fundraisers say, because they thought Obama was a lock to win re-election. That was evident in Priorities' underwhelming fundraising numbers—the super-PAC raised $2.5 million in April, $1.6 million in May, and $4 million in June. But Romney is now neck-and-neck with Obama in national polls, leading in several battleground states, and GOP and conservative super-PACs and nonprofits could spend upwards of $1 billion to defeat Obama and help Republicans take full control of Congress.
Priorities was founded last year by two ex-Obama White House aides, Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney, in response to powerful GOP super-PACs like American Crossroads, co-founded by Karl Rove, and the pro-Romney Restore Our Future. American Crossroads has raised $47 million this election cycle, and Restore Our Future has banked more than $80 million. Priorities' staff includes veteran fundraisers Harold Ickes, Paul Begala, and Diana Rogalle.
The Democratic National Convention in Charlotte this week represents a prime opportunity for Priorities and other Democratic super-PACs to woo donors and fill their war chests for the final two months of the campaign season. Priorities and affiliated super-PACs focusing on congressional races will host "Super-O-Rama," a series of invite-only confabs for donors featuring celebrities and musical acts including Pitbull and the Scissor Sisters.
American Bridge 21st Century, the super-PAC focusing on opposition research against GOP candidates, will also fete donors with a Wednesday evening party called the "Celebration of Truthiness." Alice Waters, the event's special guest chef, will dish up food for attendees, and featured guests will include Democratic strategists and TV talking heads Begala and James Carville, Howard Dean, and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.).