Potential GOP Presidential Candidates Covet Romney's Fundraising Operation

Sunday, 09 Feb 2014 10:01 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Pieces of Mitt Romney's massive fundraising operations are being sought out by potential presidential candidates for the 2016 election.

The Romney campaign, along with the Republican National Committee, teamed up to raise $1 billion in 2012, and the former GOP nominee's donor list is still considered a premiere donor list, reports Politico.

Presidential prospects are seeking donors who are able to write large checks, and the super PAC Restore Our Future was able to bring in nearly $150 million from six and seven-figure checks for the Romney campaign.

Potential candidates are also seeking out the kind of bundlers Romney attracted who can collect contributions of $5,000 or more, along with the databases of phone numbers and emails where thousands of dollars in smaller contributions can be recruited.

In 2013, campaigns paid Romney's campaign nearly $700,000 to rent his fundraising lists. And even though Romney has categorically ruled out another run at the presidency, his name is still a big draw for Republicans.

And even though the 2016 election is still two years away, Romney is already lending his name to fundraising efforts. Last month, he signed a fundraising letter to people on his Romney for President national direct mail list asking them to contribute to his 2012 running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who has been mentioned as a potential presidential candidate.

“Mitt has been courted by lots of folks from the day we lost. People up and down the ticket have asked if he would he do a letter, an email or an event — or if Ann would — and that’s only increased exponentially as buyers’ remorse has set in,” said Ron Kaufman, a top advisor on Romney's campaigns in 2008 and 2012. “He could fill every day, every night three times over. And, that’s only going to expand headed into 2016. Not just on the money side, but Mitt has a huge network of friends at all levels that have been helpful to people.”

Even while Romney lost the presidential race, his skills as a fundraiser have remained stellar, bringing in far more than any other Republican candidate.

Kent Burton, who bundled contributions for Romney and served on his national finance committee, said that many held out hope he could be persuaded to run again in 2016.

“The fact is that he is not going to run again, but there are still folks who are ardent supporters of his. And if I were out there as a candidate, I would make sure that I was in touch with the right people to be able to take advantage of that at the right moment,” Burton said.

In addition, 2016 candidates are wooing Spencer Zwick and Charles Spies, the lead finance officials for Romney's campaign and Restore our Future. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie met last year with Zwick, who has been quoted as saying Christie has a good shot at winning over romney's backers.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has also met with key donors at real estate billionaire Harlan Crow's mansion. Crow donated $2.3 million to super PACs supporting the Romney campaign, and also has met with Christie.

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