WASHINGTON -- The Romney campaign raised $170 million in September and now has more than $191 million in cash on hand, it reported on Monday, putting it in a solid position for spending in the final weeks leading up to the election.
The New York Times first reported the fundraising figure, which the Romney campaign revealed in an email to top donors and fundraisers. In that email, the campaign asked donors to help them bring in even more this month, the Times reported.
September was a somewhat difficult month for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who lagged behind President Barack Obama in polling and came under fire for a secretly recorded video of the candidate claiming 47 percent of Americans are dependent on government.
But Romney has since seen a bump in the polls after an Oct. 3 debate that he is widely considered to have won. Now, he hopes to use additional dollars to stay ahead in key swing states, such as Ohio and Pennsylvania, the Times reported. According to a tweet posted by Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul, Romney's post-debate boost helped the campaign pull in an additional $27 million in small online donations in the first two weeks of October.
The September haul, however mighty, is still slightly behind the $181 million raised by the Obama campaign and its affiliated organizations, including the Democratic National Committee and Obama Victory Fund. The Obama campaign, however, has not released a cash on hand figure for the end of September.
The full breakdown of how the two campaigns raised the September cash will be revealed on Oct. 20, when disclosures are filed with the Federal Election Commission. The details of which committee connected to the candidate raised the most money will determine how much of these funds will be under the direct control of the candidates during the home stretch.
Throughout the campaign, Obama has raised most of his money for his own campaign committee, while Romney has raised more money for the Republican National Committee than for his campaign. The RNC and other state parties receiving contributions from Romney Victory have restrictions on how funds can be spent. The RNC, for example, can only spend roughly $22 million on full coordination with the candidate. After that, it can help pay for ground game operations, mailers, staff salaries, calls and other items. It can also run independent expenditure media campaigns, but those ads cost more than those booked by the campaign and can't be coordinated with the candidate. The RNC can also run so-called "hybrid" ads, which advocate for Romney as part of a slate of candidates. Those ads, however, tend to be less effective from a messaging standpoint.
There are signals that Romney's September haul may flow more heavily to his own campaign than in previous months. The campaign states that it raised $43.15 million from donors giving less than $250. While that does not completely correspond with the definition of small donor used by the FEC and campaign finance observers -- which would be contributions under $200 -- it hints at a marked improvement in an area where the Romney team has struggled.
-- Sam Stein contributed reporting.