We’ll jump right in today with a look at how Mitt Romney’s second quarter fundraising is fodder for speculation:
TheHill.com – Romney’s war chest sets Republican fundraising yardstick
The strength of Mitt Romney’s war chest — expected to be between $15 million and $20 million — will be the yardstick against which other GOP presidential candidates’ are measured.
The former Massachusetts governor’s official second-quarter haul will become known in the next few weeks. He faced high expectations after having raised $10 million in pledges during a single day of calls, which his campaign sought to tamp down on.
Regardless, the front-running candidate is expected to outpace his rivals when it comes to fundraising.
Only three GOP presidential contenders — former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), former Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman (R) and pizza magnate Herman Cain (R) — have released their second-quarter numbers; none of them came close to Romney’s suspected haul.
Pawlenty raised $4.2 million, a figure considered relatively disappointing for a candidate of his stature, while Huntsman raised $4.1 million, a figure padded in part by self-contributions from his personal fortune. Cain said last week that he’d raised just under $2.5 million.
Meanwhile, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) have yet to release their numbers.
Bachmann turned heads earlier this year after boasting that her combined funds (from her congressional campaign and her PAC) were greater than Romney’s first-quarter haul. She’s unlikely to come close to repeating that this quarter, but as she surges in the polls, her fundraising report could provide some indication of her traction.
By contrast, Gingrich’s report will provide some indication of just how much his campaign was crippled by the departure of top aides and finance officials in the last month. He set low expectations over the weekend, telling the Los Angeles Times that his numbers “will not be as good as we would like, and candidly, the consultants left us in debt.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) was a fundraising machine during his 2008 presidential campaign, drawing on the fervor of grassroots supports to fund his so-called “money bombs.” His quarterly filing will be a test of whether those intense supporters will still drive his 2012 effort, financially and otherwise.
And, in terms of possible candidates, observers will be watching former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R) Sarah PAC for signs of strength, especially after the bus tour she took last month that received heavy media attention, along with a revamped website and online operation for the PAC.
However, the combined totals of all the GOP contenders are unlikely to come close to President Obama’s second-quarter total. His campaign set a $60 million goal but hasn’t released its official haul.
For details on fundraising for Senate candidates continue reading here.
By the way, Bachmann’s first-quarter fundraising wasn’t all she hyped it to be.
Whatever Romney’s second quarter fundraising numbers are, Restore Our Future PAC, a recently created super PAC formed by independent Romney supporters, should give The Gov additional heft.
Restore Our Future, a so-called “Super PAC”organized by former political aides to Mitt Romney and designed to help him in the 2012 presidential race, collected $12 million in the first six months of 2011.
“There is tremendous support across the country for Mitt Romney,” said Charlie Spies, one of the PAC’s founders. “Americans are coming out in support of Governor Romney because they are confident he has the experience to turn our economy around.”
The pro-Romney super PAC is the only one of its kind in the Republican race. The PAC has not yet said how or where it will spend its money but given the involvement of McCarthy it seems likely that Restore Our Future will focus on television ads.
► Jayde Wyatt
Update from Ross
Romney Raises More Than All His Republican Contenders Combined
State Rep. Renee Schulte makes some interesting observations as well.