BREAKING: ROMNEY TO ANNOUNCE 2012 EXPLORATORY COMMITTEE “EARLY APRIL” [Update: $50M clarified]

Romney Flexing

Romney Begins the Exploratory Flex April 2011 (Photo by Michael Fagans / The Californian)

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.)

From WSJ:

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!

~Nate Gunderson

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.

Nate owns and manages a small souvenir manufacturing business. He and his wife of 12 years have 2 children. Nate has been blogging for Mitt Romney since late 2006 and is co-founder and editor of MittRomneyCentral.com.
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23 Responses to BREAKING: ROMNEY TO ANNOUNCE 2012 EXPLORATORY COMMITTEE “EARLY APRIL” [Update: $50M clarified]

  1. Graham says:

    He had to announce in April because there are some informal (but large-scale) early debates scheduled for May that he probably wants to be a part of.

    I’m aboard.

  2. Graham :

    He had to announce in April because there are some informal (but large-scale) early debates scheduled for May that he probably wants to be a part of.

    I’m aboard.

    Probably also because it gives him the full 3-month period of the second quarter to raise funds so it looks good on the reporting when it comes out.

  3. Mark says:

    Let it begin! Let’s do this!

  4. Graham says:

    I hadn’t considered that, Nate. Good point. He’s been skunking the rest in fundraising thus far, it’d give the hit-and-run journalists a bad BS headline to run if his numbers were lowere per-quarter than some of these no-names.

  5. Evelio Perez says:

    Let the games begin ! Romney / 2012

  6. Jared A. says:

    I can’t wait for Mitt Romney to formally announce his run in 2012!!

  7. Tami says:

    I am so excited!!!! Woo Hoo!!

  8. Verla Swords says:

    There is no dought about it, Mitt will be the best. Our world needs him so bad. He wii be our next president, and will be the best.

  9. Kirk says:

    Let’s go!!!

  10. ric p says:

    The answer to “why Las Vegas” may be in Romney’s strategy. He needs to win NH and NV, look respectable in in IA and SC, win FL, and get to Super Tuesday. The Las Vegas site makes sense as he makes connection to the folks in NV. Look for him to give similar shout outs to NH and FL in the preliminary and announcement phase. It shows great tactical discipline.

  11. Georgia Tauchas says:

    I am sooo Ready!! GOOOO MITT!!! YaHoooo!!!

  12. Deg says:

    Let the games begin!!! Game on!!!

  13. Sam says:

    Can’t wait for the debates! And possibly the most exciting parts (except the primary contests) are when the candidates are all announcing! I can’t wait to finally see who is running and who is not!

  14. KATHYE says:

    CAN’T WAIT FOR THE BIG NEWS, GO MITT 2012, OUR NEXT POTUS

  15. Noelle says:

    I’m ready for the campaign to begin.

    Mitt Romney 2012

  16. Steve Foster says:

    I expect a lot of momentum from Romney and all, but the thought of his presidency still gives me a bit of a chill. If he really is able to do some of the very difficult things necessary for the good of the country, then, like Batman, he may be hated for it. But he has certainly found workable solutions before…

  17. John says:

    YES!!! We all have to step up our game, take nothing for granted. We must all add positives for Gov. Romney in every blog, every comment section of every paper, every TV/radio talk show. Let’s use all of the new technologies at our disposal. Time to start thinking outside the box, step out of our comfort zone and LEAVE NO DOUBT that Mitt Romney has to be the next POTUS. I suggest that we start registering people as republicans so they can vote in the primaries. If they are registered as a dem., they will need to change party affiliation to be able to vote in the republican primaries. Let’s start a national republican registration. Let’s get the tea party involved, they would love this and it would help include them in Gov. Romney’s campaign. This is Americas chance to get it right, we need to do our part.

  18. Kyle says:

    I am sending out a challenge to all Mitt-Heads on Mitt Romney Central to, together, raise $50,000+ by the deadline Mitt gave to the “bundlers” in Washington this week. Nate, if you and your fellow website helper’s could put a link on Mitt Romney Central for this challenge, we could all push for donations and try to reach the $50,000 fundraising challenge. Let’s put our money where our support and “stepped up game” is. We can do this!!!

    Go Mitt Go!!!

  19. Mad Hungarian says:

    I will kick in $30.00 to start.
    Mitt would be such a classy, extremely wise, heavily experienced, tax hating, gubmint fighting takeover of private health care, and restore America to her glory days…..or something close to it.
    The guy LOOKS presidential!

  20. Marilyn says:

    The Romney 2012 t-shirts that I ordered came in today. Very nice t-shirts, heavy weight and they look to be true to size. I got two of them, one for me and one for hubby. Navy blue ones with the shooting star on the front.

  21. Mad Hungarian says:

    You have to get your own as I did with PRESIDENT written on the front!! :)

  22. Kyle says:

    Mad Hungarian, I will also kick in $30. Anyone else willing to kick in money to help Romney with this goal?

    We just need a link and an account to put this money in so we can bundle it up and send it to Romney’s campaign. Nate Gunderson, could you help us with this? I would sure like to raise $50,000+ for Romney’s nomination run…and do it by his deadline.

    Come on everyone, we can do this!!!

  23. Luke says:

    Romney/Pawlenty!

    Who do you think will be his running mate?