Romney raised $100 million in June. Will that quiet conservative critics?

Mitt Romney's haul in June was a monthly record for a GOP candidate. He'll need that money in the Battle of the Ads, which will only escalate. But conservative critics are clamoring for more from their party's standard-bearer. 

Charles Dharapak/AP
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney discusses the latest US jobs report on July 6 at Bradley's Hardware in Wolfeboro, N.H.

Mitt Romney raised a boatload of cash – call it a supertanker cargo – in June, according to the Republican National Committee.

The presumptive GOP nominee’s haul for his campaign and associated Republican committees was “north of $100 million,” tweeted RNC political director Rick Wiley on Wednesday. Mr. Wiley directed his comment at President Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, saying he assumed the total would drive Mr. Messina and friends to adult beverages to drown their sorrows.

Will it? Perhaps. One hundred million Washingtons is a lot of money for a presidential campaign to accumulate in four weeks’ time. If true (it hasn’t yet been confirmed officially by the Romney campaign), that total would represent a record for Republican fundraising.

Mr. Obama beat that last time around – he raised $150 million in September 2008. But Obama’s money-race totals trailed Mr. Romney’s in May. Now the incumbent risks falling behind his challenger in this important metric for two months in a row.

“We’re already giving Team Obama’s formidable fundraising capabilities a run for their money – and it feels so good. Bazinga!” wrote contributor Erika Johnsen on the conservative Hot Air website on Thursday.

Romney worked hard to raise this money. Remember that $50,000-per-person dinner with Donald Trump in Utah? Overall, the former Massachusetts governor has held at least one fundraiser on 18 of June’s 30 days, according to a report in Slate.

Will the fundraising total at least give pause to Romney’s conservative critics? That’s a crucial question, given that he’s been hammered in recent days by News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch, former GE CEO Jack Welch, The Wall Street Journal editorial board, and even the conservative news magazine, The Weekly Standard.

The Weekly Standard has never been a bastion of Romney support. Throughout the primaries, founder William Kristol begged everyone from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan to jump into the GOP race.

Now Mr. Kristol has penned a piece in which he compares Romney with Democrats John Kerry and Michael Dukakis. The connection, in case you haven’t guessed, is Massachusetts.

Kristol’s basic complaint about Romney mirrors The Wall Street Journal’s opinion: He needs to stop playing defense and be more aggressive to counter the Obama team’s attacks on his Bain Capital record, among other things.

“Is it too much to ask Mitt Romney to get off autopilot and actually think about the race he’s running?” writes Kristol.

Romney may use some of his June money to at least appear to respond to these concerns. According to a report in the Washington Post, he’s planning to add some veteran communications operatives to his team to help tighten its message, while keeping his core staff of aides intact.

But he’ll need the cash for good old-fashioned campaign expenses, as well. One hundred million dollars sounds like a lot of money, but it can be swallowed up by campaign ads and other expenses faster than you can say “repeal ObamaCare.”

As the Center for Responsive Politics notes Friday in its Open Secrets blog on political money, the Obama campaign has already committed $21.4 million to July ad airtime, focusing on swing states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania. Gee. Those are states Obama is now visiting on his first campaign bus tour. Coincidence? Ha.

Ad spending from both candidates for the 2012 general election campaign is already about $200 million, according to this report. And the big-dollar months won’t even start until Labor Day.

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