Big donors have vaulted Mitt Romney into a neck-and-neck arms race with President Barack Obama’s formidable fundraising machine.

Romney and the groups supporting him have less cash on hand than Obama, but they’ve proven something potentially more important: they can bring in major money.

In all this cycle, super PACs, committees and the campaign supporting Romney have out-raised Obama and his backers $402 million to $340 million — an analysis of federal records and voluntary disclosures by POLITICO shows.

Romney’s fundraising spiked in April as his rivals for the nomination stepped aside, allowing him to join forces with the Republican National Committee to accept exponentially bigger checks. His big donors responded, suggesting his fundraising could be about to take off.

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