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January 9, 2007
Romney Launch Surprises

Governor Mitt Romney conducted the first big fund-raiser of the 2008 Presidential campaign, and the Romneyites surprised even themselves with a spectacular success. They collected $6.5 million from their Boston Convention event, far surpassing their goal:

White House hopeful Mitt Romney and 400 of his backers raised more than $6.5 million on Monday in a glitzy fundraising blitz that will force all Republican rivals to take notice.

"They've come together and blown us away today, and humbled us at the same time," said the former Massachusetts governor as he clutched the hand of his wife, Ann.

The figure dwarfed the $2 million that Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., raised and the $1 million collected by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Like Romney, the two have created committees exploring bids for the GOP's presidential nomination.

While Romney said he was not trying to send a message to anyone but his supporters, one of his national fundraising co-chairman disagreed.

"I think it's going to be a very strong message today - to everybody," said Tom Tellefsen, a classmate of Romney's at Harvard Business School and a top fundraiser for President Bush. "I think it's going to be a strong message to McCain as well as Giuliani, and I think it's going to be a strong message to those that are considering or haven't really yet laid the groundwork that maybe they should have."

The Romney campaign may have sandbagged just a little with their $1 million goal, but even so, the final numbers on this show a surprising level of early support for the outgoing Massachusetts governor. With the season just starting, Romney has apparently found the attention of the GOP donors. The early start will do a lot to build the credibility of the man who just a few weeks ago seemed almost a second-tier candidate against McCain and Giuliani.

However, the real benefit of this big score will come from its deterrent value. Until now, the field had appeared to have a wide opening for a dark-horse candidate. With Romney arriving with such a splash, the less known candidates will have to consider whether the race will have enough room for a surprise from the sidelines. Candidates such as Mike Huckabee and Duncan Hunter have to consider whether the ante might force them out of the game before they hit the table.

Expect to see Romney maintain a high profile in the coming weeks. He will want to remain in the news, riding the momentum of today's event in an early attempt to swamp out the field. McCain has worked more behind the scenes than in high-profile events -- excepting the coin flip at last night's Fiesta Bowl -- and Giuliani has all but disappeared since the election. Romney may vault to the front of the pack by default, but last night's effort was no gimme.

Note: Just for full disclosure, Romney's campaign has purchased a blog ad for the sidebar. However, CQ will remain neutral until the primaries arrive, and of course I hope to speak to all Republican candidates for President in 2007. Right now, I'm very interested in how the candidates conduct themselves during the coming year in order to determine the best candidate to win in the general election.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at January 9, 2007 5:00 AM

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» 2008 Election: Romney, the 6.5 Million Dollar Man from Misunderestimation
Former governor Mitt Romney’s campaign kicked into high gear yesterday with an all day, high-profile fundraising effort that netted $6.5 Million in one day. “They blew me away with their success,” Romney told reporters at an evening ... [Read More]

Tracked on January 9, 2007 7:26 AM


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