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Trump's spending spikes in September, but still lower than Clinton's

Donald Trump's campaign massively increased its expenditures in September, but he continued to trail Hillary Clinton's spending and fundraising, according to filings released Thursday.

Trump spent $70.2 million last month, raised $54.7 million (including a $2 million contribution from the candidate himself), and closed the month with about $34.8 million in cash on hand, according to Federal Election Commission filings. That spending figure represented a sizable jump from the only $29.9 million disbursed by the campaign in August — a roughly 135 percent increase.

At the beginning of September, the Trump campaign had about $50.3 million in cash on hand after raising $41.8 million in August, filings said.

Hillary Clinton's filing for September financials showed that she ended the month with $59.7 million on hand. During September, the Democratic nominee spent $82.6 million and raised $73.8 million, according to her campaign's filings.

In August, Clinton had spent $49.6 million and raised $59.5 million, ending that month with $68.4 million.

These September financials were recorded before the early-October release of a video featuring lewd comments Trump made in 2005. The publication of that hot mic recording marked yet another inflection point for the race, as many prominent Republicans sought to distance themselves from their party's nominee.

When Mitt Romney submitted his October monthly report in 2012, his campaign said it had raised $77.7 million, spent $65 million, and had finished out September with $63.1 million in cash on hand. President Barack Obama, meanwhile, raised a whopping $126.1 million in September 2012, spent $115.6 million, and closed the month with $99.3 million on hand.

Of note in Trump's September disbursements is the data point that the GOP nominee spent $857,345.09 on payroll — up from $643,190.52 in the prior month. Despite that increase, Trump's payroll expenditures still pale in comparison to Clinton's $3.4 million in September.

Those figures come amid the backdrop of questions about the depth of Trump's ground game operation — a key facet of get-out-the-vote efforts.

The largest portion of Trump's September spending, meanwhile, went to "placed media" advertising — to the tune of more than $23 million. That category was followed closely by $20.6 million for "digital consulting/online advertising," all of which appeared to go to Giles-Parscale, a San Antonio-based company behind much of Trump's online efforts.

Clinton's largest September spending category by far was media buying, which cost almost $66 million for the Democratic nominee.

Another notable expense for the Clinton campaign was $260 spent at the Trump International Hotel on Central Park West in New York City. Within the filing, that cost was explained as "Merchandise Not Made In America."