Romney fundraising presents latest major challenge for Obama

The news that Mitt Romney raised more money than President Obama over the last month is the latest in a series of recent challenges for Obama’s reelection and another illustration that this campaign will be much more difficult than his 2008 contest against John McCain.

Romney and the Republican National Committee raised $76.8 million in May, significantly more than the $60 million Obama and the Democrat Party brought in. Overall, according to the Associated Press, Obama and Democrats have raised $500 million, about $100 million more than the GOP.

Neither campaign is expected to lack money, as the combined spending between the two official parties and various independent political groups is expected to top $1 billion. But Romney’s financial push is important, because in 2008, Obama had a vast spending advantage over McCain, allowing him to spend millions more on television commercials and on-the-ground organizing.  Many conservatives opted against giving the Republicans money back then, citing frustration with the Bush administration or McCain himself.

Romney’s fundraising haul is a sign that the Republican Party is strongly behind him and that he has largely overcome the anxiety of about him Tea Party Republicans showed during the primaries. And it suggests he is likely to maintain financial parity with Obama throughout the race.

And this comes as Obama is already facing a jobs report last week that showed unemployment rising and Tuesday’s results in Wisconsin, which showed a motivated, enthusiastic Republican Party in a key swing state.

Follow Perry Bacon Jr. on Twitter at @perrybaconjr