For Romneyiacs like me this is the biggest news of the year – news we’ve waited to hear for over 3 years now. It seems an official campaign for Romney to seek the presidency is kicking into gear… and sooner than I thought. I had been guessing/suspecting that an exploratory committee would be formed in early May.
Reports from the Wall Street Journal say that during a meeting with 100 fundraisers that Romney mentioned early April as the time he’s likely to launch an exploratory committee. (An exploratory committee is not a full campaign but would allow Romney to legally raise funds towards a presidential run.)
About 100 fund-raisers gathered at Manhattan’s venerated Harvard Club this morning to hear former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney lay out his ambition: Raise $50 million fast.
One Romney fundraiser said the $50 million figure was what the governor wanted to show by early summer, at the time of the first financial filing deadline of what is likely to be his official presidential campaign.
“Our fundraising will be a knockout blow to anyone who is squeamish,” said one Romney fundraiser, speaking of potential Republican challengers still flirting with a race by early summer. Mr. Romney’s money machine raised a little more than $60 million in the primary campaign of 2008, according to finance records.
Mr. Romney told the crowd this morning that he is likely to announce his presidential exploratory committee in early April, an announcement that would kick fund-raising into high gear. A 15-city fundraising tour that began Tuesday in Washington is now expected to reach at least 30 cities.
As he did at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Washington Tuesday, the former governor told bundlers…that the primary season will be brutal. His strategy is to win two or three of the first states, with polling numbers already looking good in New Hampshire, where he has a lake house, and Nevada, where the Mormon vote is strong.
Jayde reported yesterday on a meeting that Romney had with fundraisers on Tuesday in Washington. There are two bits below (also from WSJ) I want to throw out again because they outline what appears to be the strategy of the campaign at this time:
Mr. Romney said he needed to do well in the New Hampshire and Florida primaries and Nevada’s caucuses, while emerging from those early states with enough money to convince undecided voters that he would have the financial firepower to get to the finish line.
Romney fund-raisers are set to converge on Las Vegas on May 16 for a final push ahead of the first financial filing deadline. The Las Vegas meeting will include a marathon phone-a-thon to reach donors, according to one fund-raiser involved in the plan.
Points I gather, though they are not confirmed:
- Announcement: Romney to form exploratory committee early April
- Shock and Awe: Campaign seeks to raise $50M by early summer (scare off timid nomination seekers?)
- Strategy: Win a few early primaries, be one of two candidates left after Florida, be funded for possible long primary, show electability by going toe to toe with Obama on fundraising.
- Big Telethon Fundraiser: Las Vegas May 16 (It’ll be a biggie!)
In 2007 Romney held a similar telethon event in Boston and raised a staggering $6.5 million, even while Romney was only at 3% in the national polls! I expect even bigger this time. How much? I don’t know, just BIGGER. I would be intrigued by Las Vegas as a location for a big kick-off telethon fundraiser. Why Vegas? Central location close to Southern Cali, Utah and many strong Nevada supporters, and where many people are willing to travel to for the event?
You know just as much as I. It will be interesting to see how it all goes down. The MR12 campaign is right around the corner!
UPDATE: Ben Smith and Maggie Haberman at Politico receive clarification on that $50 million figure:
Romney gave a presentation to make his case for people to each raise at least $25,000, and said he will need about $50 million to make it through the potentially crowded primary season, multiple sources said.
The figure was not intended to be raised solely in the second fundraising quarter beginning in April, which is when Romney said he expects to move his exploratory start-up to, the sources said.
Romney led the pack in the first quarter of 2007 with $23 million.
“We’re not going to magically double that number,” one Romney adviser told POLITICO.