Daily Ticker

Campaign Fundraising: A Behind-the-Scenes Look With Domestic Affairs Author

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The U.S. presidential election is just three months away and the race is on to keep the campaign coffers full in what is expected to be the most expensive election ever.

In July, Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee raised $101 million, roughly $25 million more than President Obama and the Democratic National Committee. For three-straight months the Obama reelection team has trailed the Romney campaign's fundraising efforts.

At the end of last month Romney and the GOP had roughly $186 million on hand. Obama's campaign has yet to release its latest balance, but started July with $144 million compared to Romney's $170 million.

And then there are the Super PACs. Priorities USA Action has raised $20.7 million and spent $17.3 million to support President Obama's 2012 reelection as of Aug. 5, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Restore Our Future, which supports the former Massachusetts Governor's presidential aspirations, has raised $82.2 million and spent $62 million.

Veteran campaign fundraiser Bridget Siegel joins The Daily Ticker to give a behind-the-scenes look into the life of a campaign fundraiser. She worked as finance director on the Kerry/Edwards Presidential campaign in 2004 and also on Hilary Clinton's Senate Campaign in 2000.

What may shock many people, she says, is the fact that most campaigns are run by twenty-or thirty-somethings who are under extreme pressure to raise millions of dollars. There is no formal training, she says, and a lot of trial by fire.

As one might expect, as news headlines ebb and flow from positive to negative, the pressure intensifies as candidates demand to change the narrative back in their favor.

"The press makes a huge difference in the campaign," says Siegel. "If there is a bad story in the press, it is a bad day at work."

Siegel, who has spent 10 years raising money for politicians, says asking for campaign donations is one aspect of the job that never gets easier.

Siegel is also the author of a new romantic novel entitled "Domestic Affairs," which is based on true (but anonymous) stories — love affairs and all — from her decade of experience on various campaign trails. Staffers fall in love and have romantic encounters with their candidates a lot more than you ever hear about in the press, she says.

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