Romney Raises Cash Fast & Spends It Wisley

Bookmark and Share    This week Mitt Romney launched a phone bank operation through his Free and Strong America PAC. It is for the sole purpose of asking known supporters to make a financial contribution to his PAC. 

It is an example of just how close Mitt has been holding his supporters to him since 2008.  The phone banks are being conducted by actual live callers who are well-trained volunteers and the pool of people they are calling come from lists that have been carefully culled through and compiled by all of his former 2008 state campaign chairs.  Since

Free & Strong America Membership Card (front)

 2008 these supporters have received 6 mailings.  One included their enrollment in the Free & Strong America PAC as a member, along with a credit card-like membership card.  

Every aspect of Free & Strong America PAC has been used to hold on to his supporters.  Even Mitt’s Free & Strong America website works well at this with such things as essay contests and other interactive events.

But beyond holding on to what he’s got, Romeny is using Free & Strong America to build on that base and he is doing it with style, smarts and efficiency.

Free & Strong America Membership Card (rear)

To date Free & Strong America has endorsed over a hundredand fifteen candidates in this 2010 election cycle and contributed over $350,000 to them since the beginning of the cycle. And more endorsement and contributions are to come. Just the other day, Mitt Romney’s Free & Strong America PAC endorsed five North Carolina candidates and boosted their war chests with a combined total of $15,000 in Romney campaign contributions.

The newly initiated phone bank operation that Romney is running is of course designed to replenish his Free & Strong America PAC, something which never stopped and never had a tough time doing since he  dropped out of the Republican presidential race in 2008.

July’s mandatory financial filings with the FEC show that in the second quarter of this year, Romney raised a total of $1,834,689.71. The combined first and second quarter fundraising total for Romney was $3,438,978.41. This is a significant amount of money for an off-year fundraising machine.

The nearest that any of Romney’s potential Republican presidential rivals have come with their PACs so far this year was Sarah Palin with SarahPAC which ended the same reporting period with more than $1 million on hand after receiving more than $865,800 in contributions during the second quarter of the year.

Both potential rivals donated a relatively similar percentage of their haul to fellow Conservative candidates who are running this November. But Palin’s $87,500 in contributions were split up between candidates throughout the nation, while Romney’s $350,000 in donations went mainly to a regional concentration of candidates in the South, along with a $30,000 contribution to New Hampshire‘s state Republican Party organization.

The spending habits between the Romney and Palin political action committees, demonstrate the difference between a campaign organization that is practicing shrewd political strategy and a potential campaign organization that is merely following traditional strategies.

All presidential contenders use the midterm elections to demonstrate their generosity by giving candidates some much-needed financial support in the hopes of having those same candidates swing their support and volunteers back to them when it comes time for the nominating primaries and caucuses.

Having the advantage of running in the primaries and caucuses before, Romney has established that he was weakest in the South where he failed to rake in any significant victories during the 2008 race. So now he is using his political action committee money to shore up his base in the South, a region that if he expects to be the Republican presidential nominee in 2012, he will need to draw a few victories from.

Palin on the other hand, is probably going to be reasonably competitive in the South, at least initially. So while she must not ignore it, she would  probably serve herself well by doing what Romney is doing but mainly in areas like the Northeast and Midwest. Instead, Palin’s less substantial financial donations are  much more spread out and in truth, will probably not bring her as much of a return on the dollar as Romney’s strategic donations will.

Romney is very wise to spend his money the way he has so far and he will have to be.

While his campaign will be able to continue to raise plenty of money and keep outpacing people like Palin, Pawlenty, Johnson, and others for the near future, there is a great risk that people like Haley Barbour will be able to dry up some of the resources that Romney is currently drawing from and find his fundraising strength eclipsed by Barbour, and if he runs, Newt Gingrich too.

Barbour’s fundraising prowess is probably better than any potential candidate in 2012. As the former Republican National Committee  Chairman and well-connected political guru who joined forces with Newt Gingrich in ‘94 to successfully orchestrate the Republican Revolution  that gave both houses of Congress back to the GOP for the first time in 40 year’s, Barbour is a master at raising money. During the past year that he has been chairing the Republican Governors Association, he has broken all of its previous fundraising records within that organization and when he starts focusing on raising money for his own PAC, Haley’s PAC, you can expect Barbour to be  just as successful with that effort as he has been with the RGA.

As for Newt, well he could end up really hurting Romney, especially if Barbour is also in the race. In just the second quarter filing alone, Newt raised over $3.2 million between his 527 called American Solutions for Winning the Future and a PAC that he started by the same name. The 527 acts as a school of politics that trains candidates and of the $3.2 million it raised, after holding several seminars throughout the nation, especially in New Hampshire and Iowa, it has $1 million in cash left on hand. His PAC however has only raised $61,000 since he started it which was only during the most recent quarter of this year. But you can expect Newt to start focusing his fundraising efforts on his PAC in the coming months and anticipate him pulling in amounts similar to the totals he raised for his 527.

So Romney’s financial edge may be short-lived and if he plans on collecting as much money as he can for the primaries and caucuses, now is probably his best chance to get as much of it as possible and as shrewd as Mitt is with money, he is certainly spending it wisely by investing most of his contributions in the South where he can not afford to receive another dismal delegate count in 2012.

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