Mitt Romney may not secure enough delegates to seal the Republican presidential nomination until June but there are growing signs that the GOP is accepting the inevitable and hopes for a brokered convention are receding.
The Republican National Committee will begin raising money with the former Massachusetts governor this week, a move similar to one launched with Sen. John McCain in March 2008, just before he sealed the nomination, The Wall Street Journal
On the campaign trail, Romney has also begun to focus on the fall and President Barack Obama.
“A race isn't over until the runners finish the track,” Political guru Larry Sabato said. “[Rick] Santorum in particular wants to continue running, even though Romney is lengths ahead. Still, it's obvious to almost everyone that Romney will be the nominee. There will be no brokered convention. One way or the other, Romney will get 1,144 delegates sometime in June, even if he has to depend upon Utah on June 26 or the breaking of the GOP superdelegates.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that the fundraising deal with Romney allows donors to contribute up to $75,000 per person, far above the $2,500 limit on individual donations to a presidential candidate in the fall.
"Our donors are ready to mobilize for November and understand that, for the Republican nominee to be able to compete with the $1 billion Obama machine, they need to get started now. We are confident Gov. Romney will be that nominee," Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul told USA Today
For its part, the Romney campaign also will begin to raise money for the fall campaign. "We're already a little behind where we should be. The sooner we get at this, the better," Brian Ballard, one of Mr. Romney's top fundraisers in Florida, told the Journal.
Obama and the Democratic Party have raised $300 million for the 2012 election and the president has brought in about $173 million for his own campaign compared to Romney’s $76 million, USA Today reported.
On the campaign trail, Romney has also begun to focus on the fall, throwing barbs at the president and all but ignoring challengers Santorum and Newt Gingrich. Campaigning in Wisconsin, which holds its primary Tuesday along with Maryland and the District of Columbia, Romney talked about his agenda for his first day in the White House, The Washington Post
However, neither Santorum nor Gingrich show any signs of dropping their bids and the two campaigns hold out hope for a brokered convention. The Wall Street Journal noted in its story that the GOP approach both Santorum and Gingrich about joint fundraising "but with little expectation that they would agree."
“I've noticed that Republican leaders everywhere have been subtly — and not so subtly — calling for an end to the battle so that the general election war can commence,” Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, said. “Many voters seem tired of the contest, and goodness knows, the news media have mainly moved on. Notice the dramatic fall in coverage on most channels. All of these things are signs that the end is near.”
Sabato predicted that should Romney win Wisconsin and loses only Pennsylvania on April 24, “the curtain will fall.”
“Should Romney actually defeat Santorum in Pennsylvania, the contest will end with a bang instead of a whimper,” he added.
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