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January fundraising: Winners and losers

at 06:30 AM ET, 02/21/2012

Monday was a holiday here at The Fix — and we ain’t talkin’ about President’s Day.

January fundraising reports were due by midnight last night, which made Monday the highest of political nerd holidays: FEC Day. And you can find all the numbers here.

Given an extra six-plus hours to let the data stew a little bit, we now present you with our January fundraising winners and losers...

WINNERS

* President Obama: All four Republican presidential candidates raised good money but also spent heavily in January. Obama faced the prospect of a well-funded Mitt Romney ending the nominating contest in January and having plenty of primary cash leftover to build a campaign over the next six months, but that’s no longer going to happen.

Obama’s campaign had $76 million cash on hand at the end of the month; the four GOP candidates had less than $13 million combined. Even better for Obama is the fact that Romney’s opponents closed the fundraising gap significantly, which will reduce Romney’s spending advantage going forward (see below for more on this).

* Ron Paul: The Texas congressman just keeps plugging along, defining the word consistency. He raised $4.5 million in January — matching his pace from the fourth quarter — and raised another $1.7 million in a money bomb event this month.

If he can keep this up — and we have every reason to believe he can -- he’s going to be able to run a well-funded operation for months to come.

* Sheldon Adelson: The $11 million he and his wife plugged into Newt Gingrich’s super PAC accounted for about two out of every three dollars spent on Gingrich’s behalf in January, so it’s hard to credit anyone but Sheldon Adelson for Gingrich’s South Carolina primary victory.

Now we’ll see if Adelson’s next reportedly $10 million investment pans out as well.

LOSERS

* The Romney alliance: His campaign and his super PAC combined to spend more than $32 million winning a state he was expected to win — New Hampshire — and taking one of the other three states he could have won in January, Florida.

That amount was more than twice what Gingrich and his super PAC spent for the month and may set a new standard for negative cashflow. Romney and has super PAC still have lots of cash (about $24 million combined), but they spent a huge amount trying to close out the race last month, and they didn’t succeed.

* Jon Huntsman’s staff: The Huntsman campaign ended with more than $5 million in debt — about $2.6 million from loans made by the former Utah governor and $2.6 million owed to his staff, consultants and vendors.

Huntsman sources say he has paid down about $1 million of that $2.6 million, with most of it coming at his own expense. So maybe the real loser here is Huntsman himself, who is wealthy, but not Mitt-Romney-wealthy.

* Newt Gingrich: Despite having all the momentum as the anti-Romney candidate for the final half of the month, Gingrich could only raise about $1 million more than Paul and Santorum?

In addition, he ended the month with only slightly more cash on hand ($1.8 million) than debt ($1.7 million). That’s not a strong position, especially given that all his momentum was gone by the time the calendar hit early February.

* Rick Perry: While other candidates (read: Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty etc.) ended their campaigns with lots of debt, Perry ended his with cash left over — to the tune of $860,000.

It’s hard to call Perry a winner given how epically little bang he got for the nearly 20 million bucks he spent on his campaign, but at least he didn’t spend himself into a pickle when the campaign was over. And in fact, he may have a good amount of seed money for his new super PAC, provided the FEC rules that he can use the campaign funds.

* Priorities USA: The super PAC founded by former White House staff raised an anemic $59,000 in January — a reflection of the tough fundraising climate faced by Democratic-leaning super PACs.

Maybe that’s why Obama announced this month that he would support the Democratic super PACs going forward.

Gingrich derided Reagan early in career: A deep dig on Gingrich’s political past turns up a picture of a man who often criticized Ronald Reagan and carved out a more moderate path early in his political career.

The Post’s Jerry Markon turns up some great details in his story on Gingrich, including Gingrich admitting in a 1983 memo that he struggled as a leader.

Perhaps more telling are Gingrich’s criticisms of Reagan, whom he has often cited on the campaign trail as his hero.

“The Reagan failure was to grossly undervalue the centrality of government as the organizing mechanism for reinforcing societal behavior,” Gingrich said in a 1992 speech.

The story notes that, while Gingrich praised Reagan publicly back then, he often derided him behind closed doors, and at one point said that “Reaganomics has failed.”

Gingrich also began his career as a more moderate politician, and in his application for a job at West Georgia College in 1970, described himself as a “progressive.” During his earliest campaigns, Gingrich didn’t appear to be terribly conservative on the issue of abortion.

Another interesting tidbit: In a 1983 memo, Gingrich says, “Every time I get involved in daily management, I goof it up. I can’t do anything but give speeches, vote and make decisions.”

But really, you should read the whole thing here.

Explosive allegations for Romney Arizona co-chairman:Romney’s Arizona co-chairman Paul Babeu has stepped down after a gay ex-lover alleged that Babeu threatened to deport him if he went public with their relationship.

Babeu, who is sheriff of Pinal County, has acknowledged that he is gay but denies the allegations lodged by his Mexican ex-boyfriend. He has stepped down from Romney’s campaign, but says he will continue running in Arizona’s 4th district, where he is challenging freshman Rep. Paul Gosar (R) in a primary in an overhauled district.

In addition, Babeu took to CNN on Monday to talk about gay marriage and his campaign.

For all the details, see the original story from the Phoenix New Times. (Warning: Includes Anthony Weiner-esque photos)

Alabama governor knocks GOP field: Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) has offered one of the most honest reviews of the GOP presidential field to date.

“It seems like it’s anyone except Romney,” Bentley told the Mobile Press-Register. “They’ve tried everybody else. Now it’s Santorum. He’s the only one that’s left. I’m not extremely excited about the Republican field of candidates. Obviously I’ll support the Republican nominee, but I’m not excited about any of them.”

Bentley is one of the highest profile Republicans to express such concerns — at least publicly.

Fixbits:

A Fairleigh Dickinson poll finds Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is Republicans’ most-desired vice presidential running mate, followed by Santorum, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sarah Palin.

The Romney campaign plays down expectations in Michigan.

Donald Trump will go on the radio to stump for Romney.

A poll of the Oklahoma primary on Super Tuesday shows Santorum up double digits.

Santorum also holds a big lead in Texas, whose primary is still in flux.

Santorum’s campaign announced former North Dakota state GOP chairman Gary Emineth will lead its campaign in that state’s caucuses on Super Tuesday.

Paypal founder Peter Thiel plugs another $1.7 million into a pro-Ron Paul super PAC.

Former congressman Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), who is getting a visit from Herman Cain for his Senate campaign this week, has also endorsed Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan, according to Cain’s PAC.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has endorsed Rep. Tim Murphy’s (R-Pa.) primary challenger, Evan Feinberg. Coburn also called Murphy an ”Arlen Specter Republican.”

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) defends his residency.

Minnesota’s new redistricting map is due out Tuesday.

The Cleveland Plain-Dealer with a backhanded endorsement of state Treasurer Josh Mandel in the Ohio Republican Senate primary.

The New York Times editorial board calls for an investigation into Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.).

New polling shows that Virginia remains a battleground state at both the presidential and Senate race levels.

Must-reads:

From Knife Seller to the President’s Hard Edge” -- Mark Leibovich, New York Times

In weaving faith into campaign, Santorum resorts to chiding opponents” — David A. Fahrenthold and Felicia Sonmez, Washington Post

Talk of Brokered Convention May Be Just That” — Michael D. Shear, New York Times

 
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