Federal Politics

Published — March 5, 2012 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Romney campaign directs more than $1.7 million to state officials

Republican presidential candidate, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign rally in Canton, Ohio. Gerald Herbert/AP

Campaign focused mostly on early primary states

Introduction

Political committees controlled by Mitt Romney’s campaign have made generous donations to prominent Republicans in early primary states, but records show contributions have tailed off as the GOP nominees head in to Super Tuesday.

The former Massachusetts governor has used a network of state and federal political action committees and personal donations to hand out at least $1.78 million to hundreds of local and national Republican candidates and organizations in all 50 states and the District of Columbia since his unsuccessful 2008 bid for the White House.

More than $500,000 was spent on Republican candidates in the first 13 state contests, which accounted for 371 delegates. Republicans in the 10 Super Tuesday states, where 437 delegates are up for grabs, received less than $328,000 from the Romney team.

The dwindling donations suggest the campaign, like the political prognosticators, did not expect the nomination battle to continue as long as it has.

In South Carolina, which hosted the third GOP contest, the Romney-affiliated committees gave more than $100,000 in contributions to state politicians, including more than $62,000 to Gov. Nikki Haley, who endorsed the front-runner. In New Hampshire, which hosted the second primary, $105,000 went to local politicians, the most of any state.

But in Ohio, an important bellwether with 66 delegates at stake, the Romney committees have donated a paltry $37,500. The spending has helped garner the endorsements of Ohio Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman and three of Ohio’s 18 representatives in the House, but Romney has been unable to win the support of Republican Gov. John Kasich, who got at least $6,000 from Romney and his leadership PACs.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is currently polling neck and neck with Romney in the critical battleground state.

Funds came from Romney’s federal Free and Strong America PAC, which amounted to a little more than $1.5 million, as of the most recent filings. Another $300,000 has been donated to state candidates via 11 state PACs registered under some variation of the name “Free and Strong” or “Commonwealth.” The numbers are current through the end of January.

Six states show one or both of those names as registrants: Alabama, South Carolina, Michigan, Arizona, Iowa, and New Hampshire. The Center analyzed state and federal campaign finance records and data compiled by the National Institute on Money in State Politics.

These so-called leadership PACs are used by politicians donate money to other influential or like-minded candidates. By making strategically timed donations to candidates in need of cash, a politician can gain clout within the party and build allegiances that may come in handy during a tough electoral battle.

“These contributions may help secure endorsements or support from powerful [Republicans] that can be crucial in winning a state’s primary or caucus,” explained Kevin McNellis, a researcher at the Institute.

The donations are “not only remarkable in the amount that he’s given,” McNellis added, but also for the “sheer number” of candidates that have benefited and how far back the contributions go. Some of the state PACs were created as early as 2004.

Years of careful contributions to Republicans in need have helped Romney rack up more major political endorsements than his GOP rivals this election season. Romney got a boost on Sunday when prominent Republicans House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia and Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma endorsed the candidate.

Three of the eight Super Tuesday states with Republican governors have lined also up behind Romney, who once led the Republican Governors Association. But endorsements don’t always lead to victory.

In South Carolina, conservative voters backed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich by a thumping 12-point margin over Romney.

Among the Super Tuesday contests, Romney’s home state of Massachusetts, which has 41 delegates, received the most from pro-Romney PACs. Republicans officials have received at least $80,000, many of whom failed to win election to higher office.

Another Super Tuesday state where the Romney team has focused many of its donations is Gingrich’s home state of Georgia. It has the most 76 delegates up for grabs, the most of any state at play tomorrow.

Romney and his PACs have given more than $65,000 to nearly 100 Georgia politicians and Republican groups. That largesse didn’t dissuade Gov. Nathan Deal and five of the state’s 11 GOP representatives from endorsing the former House speaker.

The four former GOP presidential candidates who have received donations from Romney’s team have also been largely un-swayed. Only former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who got a total of $5,000 from Mitt and Ann Romney after he dropped out, has endorsed him.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann got $2,500 from Romney’s federal leadership PAC during her 2010 reelection campaign. And as the Center previously reported, Romney donated $10,000 to Santorum in the run up to the Massachusetts governor’s last presidential run.

The beneficiary-turned-opponent of Romney, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, got $10,000 from Romney’s federal PAC in May 2010 when he was in the midst of a hard-fought re-election battle.

Despite the record of support from Romney, Perry chose to endorse Gingrich when he dropped out of the race on the eve of the South Carolina primary.

Romney’s federal PAC even gave $7,500 to Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, son of former and current GOP presidential hopeful Ron Paul.

Michael Beckel contributed to this report.

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SOUTH JERSEYTed SiroisMark SullivanTom LarkinAnonymous Recent comment authors
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Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Trump needs to conduct these activities because the entire MSM media, excluding Fox, is campaigning against him 24/7/365.

Didn’t Monica’s boyfriend’s wife and various criminal enterprises outspend Trump by almost 2-1?

CapitalistRoader
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CapitalistRoader

Why wouldn’t he get an early start on fund raising? Hillary outspent him two-to-one in 2016. The Dem’s are the party of big money. The President knows this and is attempting to get a jump on it. Of course the Dem candidate will outspend him in 2020 so it’s only rational that he starts fund raising now.

George Young
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George Young

Oh brother. We just 8 years of the Campaigner – in – Chief. Where was this journalistic rectal thermometer then. Just another article about 2000 words too long that merely takes another slap at Trump for something he far from initiated.

j stevenson
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j stevenson

The big difference between Trump and all the rest is his refusing to accept funds from lobbyists, so they don’t have the White House access they are used to. These are the donors who buy the presidency and are as pixxed off that he won the election as are the media and the Dems. Lobbyists have never been shut out of the WH and Trump has told them he is not for sale.

jan v
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jan v

all the lobbyists are running all our government agencies and all the career civil servants who know how to run the country have been fired. YOU think this is a good thing ? what a crock…

thomas alessi
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thomas alessi

I am for Trump

Martin Shellabarger
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J. Stevenson, what are you drinking? Trump has more lobbyists in his administration than probably any other president. Trump is totally “for sale”, and the corporations know it. Grow a brain!

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Trump needs to be impeached and tossed in prison. Then have the key thrown away so he will never be free. Then he can see how it feels not to have freedom.

Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Thank you for the usual insightful leftist low IQ Snowflake response.

barney
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hes not imprisoning them hes sending them back to their country chill tf out

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

WHY DONT YOU HAVE FREEDOM?

Tom Larkin
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Tom Larkin

First, something positive. I was happy to learn of empirical information in article. BUT, the article was so slanted against President Trump as to be deemed fake news (“Perhaps Trump just lied.” (Two different issues)). The article mentions that President Trump raised over $67 million, but ended 2018 with $19 million. President Trump spent over $40 million 2016 and 2017. President Trump conducted 57 political rallies. The article notes the hats and T-shirts sold, but NEVER MENTIONS THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS during a mid-term election that lost the House and the number of political rallies in… Read more »

Ted Sirois
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Ted Sirois

At least Trump is getting donations from willing donors. Fresh from his first election, Obama used billions of our children’s tax dollars to save thousands of union jobs in the car industry and bailed out the banks and many Wall Street businesses. This secured his source of reelection funds for his reelection four years later.

South Jersey
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South Jersey

TRUMP 2020; IS AN AMAZINGLY SMART MAN! VERY ORIGINAL & CREATIVE. I AM HAPPY TO HAVE HIS AS POTUS.

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

THIS ARTICLE WAS OBVIOUSLY WRITTEN BY, A TRUMP-HATE-GROUP. THAT FEELS; IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR OWN BRAND NAME. WHEN, IF FACT, IT IS NORMAL! >>>>> THIS IS >>> FAKE NEWS!!! <<<< ie: A PACK-OF-LIES; SPUN INTO; DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER. FOR A SINISTER-AGENDA OF; FASCIST DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST, COUP D'ETAT

David
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David

Are you on some kind of drugs? Writing in caps makes me think that you are grumpy old fart or a uneducated hillbilly.