WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney raised $106.1 million in June, far surpassing President Barack Obama's $71 million haul in the record-setting money race leading to the Nov. 6 election.
Romney's June fundraising, announced by the campaign on Monday, is the best haul so far in the 2012 presidential campaign, swiftly washing away the cash advantage the Democratic incumbent was expected to have in his re-election bid.
Beyond the total raised in June, released by an Obama campaign official, no figures were given for the president's Democratic allies and his campaign, which holds the monthly presidential fundraising record of $150.7 million from September of 2008.
Romney's campaign said it had $160 million left in cash on hand at the end of last month. At the end of May, Obama's campaign had $109 million left in the bank.
"This month's fundraising is a statement from voters that they want a change of direction in Washington," Spencer Zwick, Romney's finance chief, said in releasing the June haul for Romney, the Republican National Committee and the Romney Victory fund the two use jointly.
The 2012 presidential election is poised to be the most expensive in U.S. history, as both campaigns rush to bring in as much cash as possible and rely on outside spending groups with no fundraising limits instead of public financing.
Romney's campaign said about $22.3 million of the $106.1 million total came in donations of $250 or less. Those smaller donations, generally seen as a gauge for grassroots support, accounted for 94 percent of total donations, meaning much of the June cash came in a form of a few large contributions.
The Obama campaign has been urging its supporters to kick up giving since early May, when they started ringing alarm bells about the possibility of the president being the first incumbent about to be outspent in a re-election effort.
A Republican official last week said the Romney campaign had raised more than $100 million.
"Romney and the Republicans announced yesterday that they brought in more than $100 million in June ... We're still tallying our own numbers, but this means their gap is getting wider, and if it continues at this pace, it could cost us the election," Obama campaign manager Jim Messina wrote in a fundraising email after that figure was leaked.
Romney's June haul was helped by the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that upheld Obama's healthcare law - the Romney campaign has said it raised $4.6 million through 47,000 online donations in the 24 hours following the landmark ruling.
The Obama campaign has said it also raised a lot of money after the ruling but has not disclosed its figures.
In May, Romney outraised the president for the first time with $70.6 million, topping the more than $60 million Obama raised for his campaign and party.
In 2008, Obama raised a record $748.6 million and far outpacing his Republican rival, John McCain, who was limited because he accepted public financing. McCain raised about $238 million and received $84 million in public financing.
The campaigns are due to officially file their financial disclosures for June by July 20. (Editing by Doina Chiacu)