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Romney Gives Big to Vulnerable Freshmen

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) announced his next round of donations to Members of Congress, and most of them went to vulnerable freshmen.

Romney, a likely 2012 presidential candidate, may be trying to shore up support among legislators. His Free and Strong America political action committee gave a total of $83,500 to 40 Members of Congress, in addition to $124,500 that he gave to Republicans in February, the PAC announced in a release. That brings the PAC to a total of $208,000 given to Congressional Republicans already in 2011.

“It is important that we stand with our Republican Members of Congress and show that we support their pro-growth agenda and their efforts to reduce the size of government,” Romney said in a release. “Now is the time for all of us to send a powerful message that Americans will no longer tolerate the Washington culture of higher taxes, higher spending, and higher debt.”

Though Romney gave mostly to experienced Republican Members in the first wave, the majority of his donations this time went to freshmen. He gave $2,000 each to Reps. Sandy Adams (Fla.), Justin Amash (Mich.), Lou Barletta (Pa.), Dan Benishek (Mich.), Mo Brooks (Ala.), Ann Marie Buerkle (N.Y.), Jeff Denham (Calif.), Scott DesJarlais (Tenn.), Jeff Duncan (S.C.), Stephen Fincher (Tenn.), Chuck Fleischmann (Tenn.), Cory Gardner (Colo.), Trey Gowdy (Tenn.), Tim Griffin (Ark.), Morgan Griffith (Va.), Michael Grimm (N.Y.), Richard Hanna (N.Y.), Andy Harris (Md.), Nan Hayworth (N.Y.), Bill Huizenga (Mich.), Mike Kelly (Pa.), Tom Marino (Pa.), David McKinley (W.Va.), Patrick Meehan (Pa.), Kristi Noem (S.D.), Rich Nugent (Fla.), Ben Quayle (Ariz.), Dennis Ross (Fla.), Austin Scott (Ga.), Tim Scott (S.C.), Scott Tipton (Colo.) and Rob Woodall (Ga.).

Romney also gave to three Republican Members who lost and came back in 2010: Reps. Mike Fitzpatrick (Pa.), Steve Pearce (N.M.) and Tim Walberg (Mich.), as well as two who won special elections earlier in 2010: Reps. Tom Graves (Ga.) and Tom Reed (N.Y.). The only Congressman who has served longer continuously that he gave to this time was Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.); he was first elected in 2002 but ran in a different district in 2010.

Romney’s PAC only gave to two Senators this time, donating $5,000 to Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), who is up for re-election in 2012, and $2,500 to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who is up in 2016.

None of the donations this time went to the six Republicans in Iowa and New Hampshire, but he gave to all of them in his previous round of contributions.

Romney lost the 2008 Republican presidential nomination to Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), but he appears to be gearing up to run again.

“It is going to take a lot more than just new rhetoric to put America back to work. It’s going to take a new president,” he told a crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February.

No financial reports have been due to the Federal Election Commission for 2011 giving yet. Romney’s PAC gave nearly $5.9 million in 2010.

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