Since securing the GOP nomination, Romney has devoted himself to raising money. Nearly every day, his schedule has been a whirl of hotel ballrooms and private mansions, of chicken skewers and cheap wine in plastic cups.
Obama’s pace has been less frenetic, though not much: He held his 150th fundraiser of the 2012 cycle with a gay-focused event in Los Angeles on Wednesday, followed by an event with African American donors on Thursday.
“I am confident that everyone in that room will do whatever they can to make sure he has the resources needed to win in November,” said California lawyer Dana Perlman, a top Obama bundler.
But Romney fundraisers have become equally confident, and they say Romney’s success in vanquishing Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and other GOP opponents has breathed new life into a fundraising effort that often struggled during the primaries.
“Do we have a good fundraising organization? Yes. Do we have a fine candidate who will make a fine president? Absolutely,” said Fred Malek, who has been raising money for Republicans since the Richard M. Nixon era. “But beyond that, there is great alarm about the present direction of the country that puts all of the above in bold type and underlined. That’s what’s happening.”
Casino moguls Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn have mobilized their networks in recent weeks on Romney’s behalf, while a few prominent supporters of Obama’s in 2008 — including New York publisher Mort Zuckerman and Chicago businesswoman Susan Crown — have gone all out to raise money for Romney since the primaries ended.
Romney’s fundraisers acknowledge that Romney has reached for relatively low-hanging fruit during his May-to-June fundraising sprint and must now push to keep up the pace. Romney’s top 100 bundlers — “Team 100” — are heading to a private retreat in Utah on June 22-24 to plot out how to replicate the May success in the months ahead. Unlike Obama, Romney has not publicly identified most of his top campaign bundlers.
“We thought we were going to outraise Obama, but to outraise him by $17 million is really quite something,” said Bobbie Kilberg, a key Romney fundraiser in Virginia. “You really can feel something happening here, and I think absolutely we will catch up with him overall.”
Rucker reported from Missouri. Staff writers Aaron Blake in Washington and Amy Gardner in Los Angeles contributed to this report.