Mitt Romney's political action committee reported today that it raised $1.6 million in the first six months this year, and it handed out $74,274 to state and federal candidates, leaving it with more than $840,000 in the till.
Romney's Free and Strong America PAC, which helps Republican candidates, is the former Massachusetts governor's vehicle to collect chits as he contemplates a possible second presidential bid in 2012.
Among the beneficiaries: $5,000 each from the PAC went to Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, Representative Roy Blunt who is running for US Senate in Missouri, and Jim Tedisco, who lost a close race in a special election in an upstate New York congressional district. It also contributed $1,000 each to the “Undaunted Dozen,” a group of House Republicans targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for their votes against the $787 billion economic stimulus bill.
Romney's PAC contributed the maximum $6,800 to Republican Chris Christie’s New Jersey gubernatorial campaign. Today, President Obama is headed to New Jersey to raise money for Democratic Governor Jon Corzine.
And even though it's very early, Romney leads the Republican field for 2012 in a new Gallup Poll out today.
Among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents surveyed July 10-12, Romney gets the support of 26 percent, compared to 21 percent for Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee last year who is resigning as Alaska governor at month's end. Palin's PAC brought in about $733,000 during the first six months of 2009.
Mike Huckabee, who like Romney lost to Senator John McCain for the nomination last year, comes in third at 19 percent, followed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 14 percent.
But thanks to high name recognition, Palin leads in favorable ratings with 72 percent, compared to 59 percent for Huckabee and 56 percent for Romney.
"Though it is little over a year since the 2008 GOP primaries, Americans' opinions of Romney and Huckabee have changed significantly. Notably, each seems to have lost a significant share of the public familiarity he built up during the campaign. There has been a double-digit increase in the percentage of Americans who do not express either a positive or a negative opinion of both Romney and Huckabee," Gallup says.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.