In addition to tossing rhetorical hand-grenades, Ron Paul is also famous for his “Moneybombs”–large sums of campaign cash raised via the internet in a 24-hour period. Following the first Republican Presidential debate, his followers generated a million dollar moneybomb. Four years ago, he had a one-day record $6 million moneybomb. Despite some of his extreme libertarian positions, Paul has never been a slacker when it comes to fund-raising. He raised more money in the first quarter of 2011 than any other potential Presidential candidate–over $3 million.
Yesterday, however, Mitt Romney dropped his own moneybomb on the rest of the Republican Presidential field–and it was a “bunker buster”. Making calls from Las Vegas and with a live feed over the internet, Romney’s bundlers raised $10.3 million, for a new one-day fundraising record. The total was intended to intimidate the rest of the GOP field and to impress potential supporters among the party faithful. It certainly got everyone’s attention.
With Michelle Bachmann on the verge of announcing her candidacy, Mitt’s dialing for dollars event was aimed, in part, at the Congresswoman from Minnesota, who has shown her own remarkable talent for raising large sums. During the first quarter she came in second to Ron Paul, raising $2.2 million, and beating Romney’a first quarter total of $1.9 million. In addition most of her money was given to her congressional campaign committee as opposed to a 501c(4) PAC where it can’t be transferred to a Presidential campaign. Bachmann raised $135 million for her relatively uncontested 2010 congressional campaign, more than any other candidate for Congress and much of which she contributed to other candidates.
With President Obama holding $35,800 a ticket events and planning to bank $1 billion to use against the eventual Republican nominee, the Republicans are under great pressure to field a candidate who can demonstrate the ability to raise large sums of money. With Mike Huckabee out of the race, Mitt Romney is now not only the leader in the polls, but the clear leader in fund-raising as well. He may just try to drive several of his opponents off the playing field even before the first votes are cast in the Iowa caucus.