Likely Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney is trying to put the pieces in place so he can achieve a resounding victory in the so-called first primary: fundraising.
The former Massachusetts governor has been traveling the country he was at the Harvard Club in New York today to sign up key donors for his emerging campaign. Donors are pledging to raise at least $25,000 and up to $100,000 or more in order to help him make an emphatic statement to rivals and voters alike well before the first primaries and caucuses.
“I don’t know how to underline more that I believe what will shine through is his undeniable heartfelt enthusiastic belief about the greatness of this country,” said Lewis Eisenberg, a prominent hedge fund manager who was the finance chairman for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign and is now committed to Romney.
Romney’s supporters expect him to announce an exploratory committee sometime next month, which would kick off the aggressive fundraising campaign. A Romney aide said his finance team is using a figure of at least $50 million to describe the minimum amount they believe it will take to win the GOP nomination.
Most candidates, including Romney, have been dancing around the idea of running for president, but within weeks several candidates are likely to take more formal steps. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty filed paperwork earlier this week to establish an exploratory committee, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia said he soon intends to do the same.
Others have been more coy about their plans, and have suggested they would wait until the summer to make their decisions. But if Romney forms an exploratory committee next month allowing him to start raising money for his campaign it could force other candidates to jump into the race in order to compete with his fundraising.
The warning bell will go off on April 1, the start of the second quarter.
Matt Viser can be reached at email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.