Mitt Romney Far Outraises GOP Rivals

Posted March 22, 2012 at 4:22pm

Mitt Romney’s campaign remains driven by large donors over small donors, according to an analysis released today by the Campaign Finance Institute, but the former Massachusetts governor is at least tapping some new funding sources.

Romney far outraised his leading GOP rivals in February and had considerably more cash on hand, according to the institute’s analysis of recently released campaign finance disclosures. Romney pulled in $12 million last month, bringing his total receipts to $74.7 million, and he has $7.3 million in cash on hand. He also rounded up 2,479 new donors in the $2,500 category.

By contrast, ex-Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has collected $15.5 million since the beginning of the campaign and has $1.6 million in cash on hand, while former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) pulled in $20.8 million and is $500,000 in debt.

But Santorum showed signs of momentum in February following some primary wins, raising $8.9 million that month, nearly three-quarters of the $12 million that Romney raised during that period.

Romney has failed to move the needle when it comes to small donors. Only 9 percent of Romney’s total in February came from donors giving $200 or less, while 66 percent of it came from contributors who gave the maximum $2,500. By contrast, 49 percent of Santorum’s receipts came from small donors. For Gingrich, the share coming from small donors was 45 percent.

President Barack Obama continued to best all his rivals, pulling in $24.2 million in February for a total haul of $168.4 million. He has $67.7 million in cash on hand, less than the $110 million that President George W. Bush had on hand at the same period in 2004. Obama’s campaign continues to raise a significant amount from small donors, with 45 percent of his total coming in contributions of $200 or less.

The candidate fundraising totals mean less than they would have before the advent of unrestricted super PACs, the report notes. Super PACs backing the presidential candidates raised a collective $88.4 million and spent $71 million through February.

“Because of the role of these super PACs, the candidates’ receipts and expenditures do not explain as much as years past,” the report concludes. “The role of small and large donors still speaks to important organizing and mobilizing capabilities, but million-dollar donors have changed the equation for advertising expenses.”