Magic Number of the Day: $17 million

Photograph by Reed Saxon/AP Photo

President Barack Obama at a campaign fundraiser sponsored in Beverly Hills.

That’s the advantage in fundraising for Mitt Romney and the Republican Party over President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party in May, according to figures announced by the campaigns last week.

Romney, the Republican National Committee and a Romney Victory joint fundraising committee together raised $76.8 million, compared to about $60 million for the Obama campaign, the Democratic National Committee and its joint fundraising operation with state parties.

Romney intensified his fundraising in May, the first full month in which he had no active opposition for the Republican presidential nomination. A detailed accounting of Republican and Democratic candidate and party fundraising in May is due to the Federal Election Commission by June 20.

Heading Romney’s fundraising operation is Spencer Zwick, 32, who’s so close to the candidate that he’s sometimes called Romney’s “Sixth Son.” Zwick’s fundraising consulting firm, SJZ LLC, has received about $7.5 million from Romney’s presidential campaign, and his connections to Romney have helped him raise money for a private-equity firm Zwick co-founded. Bloomberg’s Lisa Lerer has more about Zwick.

It’s rare for a presidential election to take a back seat to a congressional race, though that may be the case today, as voters in Arizona’s 8th congressional district in and around Tucson choose a successor for Democrat Gabrielle Giffords. The Democratic nominee is Ron Barber, a former aide to Giffords who was injured in the January 2011 shooting that critically wounded her. The Republican is Jesse Kelly, an Iraq War veteran who almost defeated Giffords in 2010, a good Republican year. Obama lost the district to Arizona Senator John McCain in the 2008 presidential election.

About 30 percent of Arizona residents are Hispanic, an ethnic group that has attracted attention from the presidential candidates and the parties because of their growing numbers in swing states like Florida, Colorado and Nevada. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, a son of one president and a brother of another, said yesterday that he’d give a grade of “needs improvement” to the Republican Party for its outreach to Hispanics. Bloomberg’s Mark Silva has the story.

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