Mitt Romney raises $17m more than Obama campaign in May

Composite photo of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney The early stages of the campaign have seen a focus on fundraising

US Republican candidate Mitt Romney raised almost $17m (£11m) more than President Barack Obama's re-election effort in May, figures show.

Mr Romney and the Republicans raised $76.8m, while the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party brought in $60m.

Mr Romney now has $107m cash on hand, almost matching the $115m Mr Obama's campaign had by the end of April.

Mr Obama's May total included $15m raised at the home of George Clooney, with tickets costing $40,000.

Members of the public also bought $3 raffle tickets to win a spot at that star-studded event.

Both presidential candidates are in the midst of a hectic fund-raising schedule as they prepare for the long campaign ahead of November's election.

Mr Obama is campaigning this week in California and Nevada, while Mr Romney has been in Texas.

The monthly campaign fundraising totals do not include millions of dollars being raised and spent by independent committees backing each campaign.

'Broken promises'

May's fundraising figures were the first since Mr Romney took an unbeatable lead in the Republican primary process, having won the required numbers of delegates to ensure he will face Mr Obama in November.

Announcing its fundraising totals early on Thursday, the Obama campaign said on Twitter that 572,000 people donated in May, 147,000 of them for the first time.

His campaign also reported that 98% of the contributions were less than $250.

In its statement shortly afterwards, the Romney campaign reported that donations of $250 or less made up 93% of all donations and $12m of the total amount raised.

"Our strong fundraising is a sign that Americans are tired of President Obama's broken promises and want a change of direction in the White House," Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt used Twitter to play down Mr Romney's fundraising haul: "Reminder on RNC/Romney camp fundraising: 1st month joint committee was in existence, so all their primary donors wrote their maxout checks."

Both the camps raised considerably more in May than in April, when the Obama campaign and the Democrats brought in $43.6m, slightly ahead of their opponents.

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