Romney Sets Alabama Fundraising Record: $2 Million Evening- Inside Report from MRC Blogger Jeff Fuller

Mitt Romney came to Birmingham, Alabama last night and held a stellar fundraising event … leaving town with a cool $2,000,000 from me and my fellow Alabamians.

Reports are that this is the largest fundraising total for any Alabama political event. Held at The Club, which overlooks downtown, Romney held a VIP photo reception, followed by a general reception, and tied things up with a dinner.

Cool flash effect on my License plate while overlooking downtown Birmingham from The Club. Taken during the record-setting Mitt Romney fundraiser on August 15th, 2012

A write-up of the event highlighted some of our future President’s words:

“The median income for a family has dropped $4,000 in the past four years,” Romney said. “Gasoline prices have doubled. Food prices are up. Health care prices are up. Utility prices are up. People in middle income families are getting crushed and one out six Americans are now living in poverty.

“He is out of ideas. He is out of excuses. And we need to make sure in November we put him out of office,” Romney said to a surge of applause from supporters.

… the crowd included an all-star lineup of the state Republican party. Romney was introduced by U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, after the crowd was warmed up by U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus, Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard and Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey. Gov. Robert Bentley was there as was former Gov. Bob Riley. Lee Styslinger, CEO of Altec, Inc., hosted the event.

US Senator from Alabama, Jeff Sessions, introduced Mitt Romney at The Club in Birmingham, AL

My wife posted to her Facebook page that the atmosphere was “electric,” and she hit the nail on the head! Mitt had the crowd going, and there were 3-4 times as many people present as at a similar fundraiser held at the same place almost exactly one year ago, last August, which we also attended. The crowd was timid then, as the GOP nomination was being hotly debated and two southerners, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich were on the rise. In stark contrast, there was no timidity there tonight! These folks are excited to see Romney and Ryan take over the White House and were showing that with their enthusiasm and their pocketbooks.

More from the article above:

Romney cited numerous examples of how individuals, in business and politics and society can make a difference. He saluted Lech Walesa, the Polish labor leader who stood up to the Soviet Union and went on to become president of Poland. He gave a nod to Alabama, mentioning Rosa Parks and her refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus leading to the arrest that helped spark the civil rights movement.
“It is remarkable the impact that one person can have,” Romney said.

And it is the collective activity of individuals free to pursue their ambitions that makes the U.S. economy the envy of the world, Romney said, not government planning.

Our economy runs on freedom,” Romney said. “That is how it works.”

So, Vice President Biden, do you think the man who singles out and praises Rosa Parks at a private GOP fundraiser in Alabama “wants to put y’all back in chains” !?!?! Time for Vice President Ryan, eh?

One other tidbit, not mentioned in the article, is that Mitt said he met recently with Condoleezza Rice (final VP vetting interviews possibly?!?!) and she shared a story with him of the important role one person can play. This individual courage was displayed by an old Romanian woman in a rally crowd who called her authoritarian dictator, Nicolae Ceausescu, a “liar” and started a revolution. As detailed in her book “No Higher Honor,” Dr. Rice (an Alabamian, by the way) recounts:

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Romney Victory Effort Notes Bounteous July: Raised $101.3 MILLION

Wonderful news!

We who believe in OPPORTUNITY, the American Dream, and Governor Mitt Romney helped our next President raise a hefty amount of money in July to strengthen his campaign war chest…

$101.3 MILLION.

It’s the second month in a row Romney has raked in more than $100 million and the third month in a row Romney’s joint committee has raked in more cash than Obama’s joint committee. (Obama’s joint fundraising resulted in $75 million for July.)

No candidate for president has ever had two $100 million months in a single election.

Today, Romney for President, Romney Victory, and the Republican National Committee announced fundraising totals of over $101.3 million in July. The campaign, RNC and state party participants have approximately $185.9 million cash on hand.

Announcing the numbers, Romney Victory National Finance Chairman Spencer Zwick and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said, “Once again we see that for many people, this is more than a campaign, it is a cause.” Zwick went on to say, “We are honored to have the support of a broad spectrum of donors—Independents, Democrats and Republicans—whose support of Governor Romney shows that he has the needed plan to jumpstart our economy and get the country on the right track again. We are well on track to raise the money to be successful in November. If you haven’t given, show your support by joining the group of donors who have shown their commitment to Governor Romney and the Romney Victory effort.”

Americans are clearly looking for a change in the White House,” said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. “While President Obama claims that his economic plan ‘worked,’ the American people know that his policies haven’t worked and he has failed to fix our economy. Mitt Romney has a plan that will create jobs, grow the economy, and build a stronger middle class – that is why he is seeing such strong support.”

FAST FACTS about Romney For President, Romney Victory, and RNC fundraising:

● Over $101.3 Million raised in July
94.13% of all donations received in July were $250 or less
● $25.7 million raised by donations under $250 in July
● 600,627 donations received under $250 in July
● Approximately $185.9 million cash on hand
● Contributions received from all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

It’s also reassuring to know Governor Romney is a wise steward with funds raised (note Ben’s article). Thank you very much to all who helped make July such a significant fundraising month.

As RNC chairman Priebus stated - this is more than a campaign - it is a cause. Let’s continue to manifest our belief in The Gov and the restoration of America by making August another great month (91 days until election day!). Donate here.

Every dollar matters!

Follow Jayde Wyatt on Twitter @YayforSummer

Mitt Romney To Begin Accepting Donations for a 2012 Run in “Mid-to-Late April”

Romney will accept donations for a 2012 run in "mid-to-late" April.

Romney will accept donations for a 2012 run in mid-to-late April.

Let’s get this party started!

Although Mitt Romney hasn’t officially announced his candidacy for 2012, there are signs that he will at least announce an exploratory committee sometime in mid April. One major hint is that Mitt Romney will officially start accepting campaign donations for 2012 around the same time:

“A top Mitt Romney official told supporters on a conference call Thursday that the former Massachusetts governor is eyeing mid-to-late April to begin raising money for his eventual presidential campaign, according to call participants

Spencer Zwick, Romney’s chief liaison to the fundraising community, informed the group of donors and outside advisers that the governor won’t launch a full-fledged campaign by the end of next month but would file the paperwork necessary with the FEC that will allow them to begin bringing in the cash needed to post a big number for the second quarter.

As the nearest thing the GOP has to a front-runner, Romney would like to push back the start of the full-blown presidential campaign for as long as possible, but he also must begin putting a more formalized fundraising infrastructure in place.

“If you’re going to raise money this summer and fall you have to create a team and do the paperwork soon,” said a Republican on the call.

There is no hard date set yet — or at least outside Romney backers haven’t been informed of one yet — for either the initial filing of paperwork or an eventual actual declaration of candidacy. The campaign-in-waiting in Boston wants to be flexible about timing so as not to be locked into a day that could be overwhelmed by other news.”

While Mitt Romney is fortifying his financial his fund raising advantage, his Free And Strong America PAC has raised raises $1.9 million in the first three months of this year:

“Republican Mitt Romney, who is weighing a presidential bid, raised nearly $1.9 million in his federal political action committee during the first three months of the year.

His Free and Strong America PAC gave away more than $400,000 to GOP candidates and conservative causes, according to information released this afternoon by PAC spokeswoman Andrea Saul.

The PAC activity is one sign of Romney’s effort to lay the groundwork for a presidential bid. Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, has not declared his candidacy nor started to fundraise for a White House campaign.”

You can feel the excitement here at MRC as fans and supporters get ready for Mitt Romney’s eventual announcement — which should come not too long after he starts officially accepting campaign donations. I know all of us here are eagerly awaiting a formal announcement to run for President in 2012. Many of you have asked how you can begin to help Governor Romney in his efforts… While there are no campaign offices to volunteer at quite yet, one of the best ways to help Mitt Romney right now is by joining us in pledging to donate to the campaign once it starts here.

-Jared A.

Will Romney Put His New MITT ’12 Bumper Sticker On His Car?

I doubt it. But now he knows they’re out there.

My brothers (Luke and Aaron) and I had some excitement yesterday. While we were all at work, Luke came into my office to tell me he got a text from a friend. His friend said that Mitt Romney was at an event for a local business just 4 miles away. Not knowing what it was exactly we hopped in the car and went over, grabbing some of our MITT ’12 stickers, just in case.

Apparently Romney was asked to be a speaker at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for APX Alarms which was opening a HUGE new headquarters in Provo, UT. The COO of APX, Alex Dunn, was Romney’s Chief of Staff while he was governor of Massachusetts.

We arrived at the event a little late (still not knowing what it was) and entered through side door in the very back. When we cracked the door we were surprised to see a room full of at least a thousand people with only crowded standing room available in the back. We were also surprised to find that we were standing right next to Spencer Zwick. Our good governor Gary Herbert was speaking at the time, and a few minutes later Romney was introduced to a very raucous reception, partly because of Luke and Aaron.

After we introduced ourselves to Spencer I showed him one of our bumper stickers and his face lit up with a wide smile. He asked if he could have it, and asked for one to give to Mitt when I showed him we had five of them. I don’t know why I was surprised but Spencer was exceptionally friendly, and he was looking very slim from the last time I’d seen him. I asked him whether or not it was true that Romney had written his USA Today op-ed on his blackberry, to which Spencer confirmed.

After the event ended and the crowd began to clear we worked our way toward the front and ran into Josh Romney too. He was also extremely friendly and I was a little surprised that he seemed to remember us. He also liked the bumper sticker a lot and said that we should try to give one to his dad and that it might be the last motivation that his dad needs to run in 2012. In our chat with him he said that his parents have recently spent most of their time at their home in La Jolla, CA, and that they really liked it there. We also talked a little bit about his dad flying later that day to be on the Larry King Live show.

I did get a chance to give a sticker to Governor Romney himself, but only as he was being hurried out of the building after talking some fans and then doing his TV interviews. I stood along the wall right by the door to the exit so I was able to very briefly stop him to shake his hand and give him the sticker. As I gave it to him I mentioned that it was extra motivation for him. He let out a hearty laugh and asked where I got it. I told him I made it and he laughed again as he was walking out.

This brief exchange was actually caught on KSL news where the news anchor actually mentioned the bumper sticker, just as you see it flash in Romney’s hand. I was not aware of this video until a short while ago when Jenn emailed it to me. You can see Aaron, Luke (just barely) and I as Romney is leaving. It’s at about 1:50 in the video.
Click here for a link to the video from KSL. Update: see the first YouTube video below.

Aaron and Luke would be mad at me if I didn’t mention the awesome food they had afterwords.

Here is our bumper sticker that we hope to be selling in our store very soon: (click to enlarge)
mitt romney 2012 bumper sticker

I just want to add that Romney’s speech of course was excellent. He spoke for about 10ish minutes and included some interesting personal stories that I actually had not heard before. He emphasized that it was businesses like APX that would restore jobs to our economy and that the stimulus package was doing nothing to actually create jobs but rather hurting our economy further. He also pointed out the strength of entrepreneurship in how APX was able to raise $330 million dollars from investors (in this economy?) to greatly expand their business and provide THOUSANDS of new jobs.

Video of Mitt’s visit to APX, Provo, Utah December 3, 2021

Mitt Romney Q & A at APX Alarms, Provo, Utah December 3, 2021
Mitt shares his thoughts on the economy.

~Nate G.

WashPost: Romney’s Inner Circle

The Washington Post has an excellent article today on Romney’s inner circle. They have some quick pot-shots they take but for the most part this is great information.

As we noted last week about Spencer Zwick, Team Romney has a very distinct aura - a good one in our book.

* Beth Myers: The first among equals, Myers is Romney’s campaign manager and closest aide. She was Romney’s chief of staff during much of his term as governor, after having served a stint as a top adviser to Massachusetts Treasurer Joe Malone. Myers — like many top GOP operatives in the ’08 campaigns — is an acolyte of Karl Rove, having served under him in the 1986 campaign of former Texas Gov. Bill Clements (R).

* Peter Flaherty: As director of Romney’s outreach to conservatives, Flaherty may well hold the key to the governor’s chances of winning the nomination. Prior to joining the campaign, Flaherty was Romney’s deputy chief of staff in Boston. His background is in law, but Flaherty also served a stint at the movie production company Walden Media, which is run by his two brothers.

* Alex Castellanos: A well-regarded Republican media consultant, Castellanos has already been hard at work crafting Romney’s image with a series of television ads aimed at introducing the governor to voters in early states like Iowa and New Hampshire. Castellanos comes to the campaign with a reputation for pointed (and effective) ad-making on behalf of a bevy of candidates, including President George W. Bush, former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) and former Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.).

* Jan van Lohuizen: If you don’t know who van Lohuizen is, that’s just how he likes it. One of the lowest-profile pollsters in politics, van Lohuizen is also one of the most highly regarded. He was a key member of the Bush polling team in 2004 and has had a hand in any number of major GOP victories, including victories by Govs. Charlie Crist (R-Fla.) and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s (R-Calif.) last November.

* Alex Gage: Microtargeting — the process of collecting vast amounts of information on potential voters and then using the gathered data to tailor messages to them — became all the rage in 2004 after President Bush found thousands of new supporters using it. And Gage, the founder of TargetPoint Consulting, is widely seen as a microtargeting guru. Bush paid $3 million to Gage’s firm in 2004 and reaped huge rewards; Romney hopes to follow that blueprint in ’08.

* Spencer Zwick: No one (besides Romney) deserves more credit for the candidate’s $21 million first-quarter fundraising haul than Zwick. A wunderkind in his late 20s, Zwick is Romney’s national finance director and a past deputy chief of staff in Romney gubernatorial office. Zwick, who met Romney while he was a student at Brigham Young University, enjoys such a close personal relationship with the candidate that he is often referred to as Romney’s sixth son, according to the New York Times. (If you’re a subscriber to National Journal, check out Shira Toeplitz’s recent profile of Zwick.)

* Carl Forti: Forti, the campaign’s political director, is a newcomer to Romney’s universe, having spent the last several cycles as communications director at the National Republican Congressional Committee. Forti also headed up the NRCC’s independent expenditure program — directing tens of millions of dollars in television and radio ads as well as direct mail into districts across the country.

* Matt Rhoades: Rhoades isn’t as well-known to the wider world as some of his counterparts on other campaigns, but he is regarded very highly by political professionals. Rhoades served as research director and deputy communications director at the Republican National Committee in the 2006 cycle and research director for the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign in 2004. Rhoades also enjoys a friendly relationship with Matt Drudge — founder of the Drudge Report — an indispensable connection in the modern “freak show” world of politics.

* Kevin Madden: The telegenic Madden was a staple of Capitol Hill in recent years as the public face for former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and current Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio). Madden has brought his friendly demeanor to Romney’s operation, sending out a daily rundown of key clips and appearances by the former governor. Don’t let the smile fool you though — Madden is a New York native not unfamiliar with the rough and tumble of politics.

* Barbara Comstock: Comstock is a household name inside the Beltway as a former head of the Justice Department’s Office of Public Affairs and research director at the Republican National Committee. Comstock rose to prominence as a master of the art of opposition research; in a 2001 profile of Comstock, Post reporter John Mintz wrote that Comstock had “done more than any other GOP operative to skewer Bill Clinton, Al Gore and their congressional allies.”

* Eric Fehrnstrom: Fehrnstrom, as Romney’s traveling press secretary, probably spends more time with the candidate than any other member of the Inner Circle. Prior to joining the campaign, Fehrnstrom was Romney’s gubernatorial spokesman and deputy campaign manager for Romney’s 2002 governor’s race. Fehrnstrom, like Myers, has ties to former state Treasurer Joe Malone, for whom he served as a press fla

Team Mitt Profile: Spencer Zwick

Shira Toeplitz writes Friday in the National Journal an excellent article about Spencer Zwick, “Romney’s Moneyman” as she terms it:

As a former venture capitalist, Mitt Romney probably could have picked any number of corporate executives or money mavens as his campaign finance director. After all, the Massachusetts Republican got to know scores of CEOs when he ran the organizing committee for Salt Lake City’s Winter Olympics and when he was making millions at Bain Capital. Surprisingly, though, Romney selected 28-year-old aide Spencer J. Zwick to oversee his effort to raise as much as $100 million before the GOP presidential primaries.

I’ve met Spencer on several occasions since the campaign began. Not only is he a talented young guy… he’s also very approachable. Many pols are put off by us professional upstarts and bloggers. I know I’ve gotten the cold shoulder from many pundits in the past. Spencer, while always sapped for time, is never sapped for courtesy.

Shira continues:

One of Zwick’s talents, says one donor, is creating incentives for potential supporters based on their specific interests. For example, last week the campaign’s online grassroots fundraising program, MittLink, offered a test group of supporters tickets to the NCAA’s Final Four, to see who could raise the most MittLink points. Backers collect points by working the grassroots — getting others to sign up for Romney, raising money, and so on.

I mentioned this point earlier in the week. The business mantra of know your customer and cater to them is exactly what Team Romney understands so well.

In truth, these characteristics are almost par for the course with everyone you meet on Team Romney: innovation coupled with great personalities, vibrant energy and good manners.