President Barack Obama’s campaign raised more than $70 million combined for his re-election and the Democratic party during the summer, an amount that gives him a clear advantage over his Republican rivals but is less than his initial fundraising effort.

The fundraising total announced Thursday exceeds a goal set by the campaign of $55 million combined for the July-September fundraising period but is about $16 million less than Obama raised during the April-June quarter.

Obama has dealt with declining poll numbers and a weakened economy during the summer, prompting the president to recently call himself the “underdog” in the presidential race. Campaign officials had said they would raise less because of canceled fundraisers during the summer’s debt ceiling negotiations and a typical summertime lull in raising cash.

Obama still leads his Republican rivals in fundraising by tens of millions and can save most of it for next year because he does not face a primary opponent.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leads the Republican field in fundraising, pulling in more than $18 million in his first three months of campaigning. He is not expected to surpass that mark for the past three months but should lead the pack in cash on hand. Texas Gov. Rick Perry raised $17 million in his first seven weeks of campaigning and had $15 million in the bank.

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