Obama takes 2012 fundraising lead with $86M

President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks during a Democratic National Committee event at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers, June 23, 2011, in New York. AP

Updated at 6:58 a.m. Eastern

WASHINGTON - President Obama collected $86 million combined for his re-election campaign and the Democratic Party during the past three months, giving him a large fundraising advantage over the Republican field seeking to challenge him in 2012.

Obama raised more than $47 million and the Democratic National Committee brought in more than $38 million through the end of June, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in a video posted early Wednesday. Obama's team had set a public goal of $60 million combined.

The fundraising totals outpace Republicans, who have collectively raised about $35 million so far, although some candidates have yet to release their results.

At the same time in 2007, 10 Republican presidential hopefuls had raised more than $118 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Fundraising totals are often seen as a gauge of excitement about a candidate, and the money in Obama's coffers will help build a foundation for all-important advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts in next year's election.

Obama's advisors are anticipating a stiff challenge from Republicans amid rocky economic conditions. Obama has acknowledged he will need to re-energize supporters who were inspired by his message of hope and change three years ago but may be discouraged by the economy and the pace of change.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leads the Republican field in fundraising, pulling in more than $18 million during the past three months. An independent fundraising group supporting Romney's presidential bid has raised $12 million this year.

Following Romney, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty collected $4.2 million and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman brought in $4.1 million, with about half coming from his personal wealth. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, a favorite of the anti-tax tea party, has not yet released her fundraising totals.

Obama's advisers have told donors privately they hope to match or exceed the $750 million they raised in 2008.

Messina said more than 550,000 people donated money to the campaign during the first three months, a large increase from about 180,000 donors to Obama during the first half of 2007. The campaign has actively courted small donors, hoping to show that the president is in a good position for the 2012 campaign and capable of generating broad financial support.

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