Romney Raises $57 Million While Gingrich Takes in $13 Million

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney raised $57 million last year, including $24 million in the last three months, and entered the 2012 Republican presidential primary season with $20 million to spend.

Romney raised almost as much money from October to December as his chief rival for the nomination, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, raised all last year, new Federal Election Commission reports show.

Romney, the projected winner of today’s Florida primary, outraised all his Republican opponents last year, though he brought in less than half the $128 million haul reported by President Barack Obama. The president, who took in $40 million from October to December, had $81.8 million to spend entering 2012, four times Romney’s bank balance.

Gingrich raised $12.7 million for his campaign last year, including $9.8 million in the last three months, and had $2.1 million in the bank. He also reported debts of $1.2 million, including $351,946 to Moby Dick Airways Ltd., which arranges air charters. Gingrich paid off his own debt to himself.

The campaign reimbursed Gingrich more than $200,000 for travel and paid him $47,005 for a mailing list, as well as $67,016 in compensation to Gingrich Productions for web hosting.

Daughter’s Company

From October to December, the Gingrich campaign paid the consulting company led by his daughter, Jackie Gingrich Cushman, $21,811 for consulting and travel. The campaign previously paid Cushman Enterprises Inc. $34,321.

Gingrich, who won the South Carolina primary, raised another $5 million last month, said his campaign spokesman, R.C. Hammond.

Obama’s year-end figures include transfers from a joint fundraising effort with the Democratic National Committee. Four years ago, Obama raised $104 million through Dec. 31 and had $18.6 million in the bank.

Obama has maintained a strong base of small donors; $58.5 million, or 46 percent, came in through contributions of $200 or less. He had 1.3 million donors last year, the campaign said.

The campaign reported spending $48 million through Dec. 31, including almost $20 million in the last three months.

Fundraising Bundlers

Obama also reported that the number of fundraisers bringing in at least $50,000 increased to 445, from 351 at the end of September. He named 61 bundlers, supporters who tap their own networks to help generate donations to the campaign, who raised more than $500,000, up from 41 in September. Obama is the only presidential candidate to publicly identify backers who are bundling donations.

New $500,000 bundlers include Bruce Heyman, a managing director of New York-based Goldman Sachs Group Inc.; Tom Carnahan, chairman of Exelon Corp.’s St. Louis-based Wind Capital Group LLC, an alternative-energy company and brother of Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan and U.S. Representative Russ Carnahan; and Kirk Dornbush, president of Iconic Therapeutics Inc., an Atlanta-based biopharmaceutical company.

Bundlers of more than $500,000 previously identified by the campaign include onetime New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, the former chairman of New York-based MF Global Holdings Ltd., which filed for bankruptcy after making bets on European sovereign debt; Robert Wolf, chairman of UBS Americas; and Hollywood producer Jeffrey Katzenberg.

‘Different Vision’

Obama raised at least $2.15 million at two separate fundraisers today. At the first event he told approximately 50 people who paid at least $35,800 per couple that he offers a “fundamentally different vision” from Republicans, who he said want to strip away protections for consumers, disregard environmental concerns and lower taxes for the wealthy.

He spoke later at a dinner in Chevy Chase, Maryland, a Washington suburb, with almost 70 guests with ticket prices starting at $35,800 per couple.

The president also is using administration officials to raise money across the country as his re-election efforts go into high gear. Vice President Joe Biden hosted a fundraiser today with about 200 guests in Fort Worth, Texas. Tickets started at $5,000, and on Feb. 2 he will host an event in DeKalb, Texas, that could raise at least $716,000.

Texas Governor Rick Perry, who dropped out of the Republican race on Jan. 19 and endorsed Gingrich, reported earlier that he had raised $2.9 million in the fourth quarter, down from $17 million in the previous three months. He raised $20 million last year, and had $3.8 million in the bank at the end of 2011.

Santorum, Bachmann

Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania raised $2.2 million last year, including $920,428 in the fourth quarter. He entered 2012, where he continues to campaign after winning the Iowa caucuses, with $278,935 in the bank and debts of $204,836.

Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann, who ended her campaign Jan. 4, took in $1.7 million in the fourth quarter, bringing the total for her campaign to $9.3 million. She raised $4.8 million in amounts of $200 or less. Bachmann had $1.1 million in debt -- more than half of owed to a telemarketing firm -- and $358,725 in cash at the end of 2011.

Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who withdrew from the race Jan. 16, had $3.8 million in debts at the end of 2011, including $2.5 million he lent his campaign. Huntsman raised $3.3 million, including $1.1 million from October to December, and had $110,965 in the bank on Jan. 1.

Cain, Pawlenty

Georgia businessman Herman Cain raised $11.2 million in the fourth quarter and $16.9 million for his campaign, which he terminated in early December. He had almost $1 million left over and owed $580,200.

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who withdrew from the Republican race in August after finishing third in the Iowa Straw Poll, raised more than $400,000 from October to December, whittling his campaign debt to $102,911 -- little more than double the $46,268 he had in the bank as of Dec. 31. He raised $5.9 million last year for his campaign.

Pawlenty received financial help from Romney, whom he endorsed in September, and Romney’s wife, Ann. They contributed the maximum $2,500 each, as did 11 other Romney family members. In addition, Pawlenty received $2,500 from J.W. Marriott Jr., the chairman of Bethesda, Maryland-based Marriott International Inc., who also gave $500,000 to a pro-Romney super political action committee, Restore Our Future.

Super-PAC Contributions

The other candidates also getting help from super-PACs, which can take in unlimited donations from corporations, unions and individuals though are forbidden to coordinate with the candidates they are supporting. Political action committee filings are also due today.

“This is going to be a long haul; we’ll get through it,” said Rick Tyler, a strategist with Winning Our Future, a pro-Gingrich political action committee, in an interview with Bloomberg Television today. Tyler said his group would keep supporting Gingrich “every step of the way.”

Winning Our Future earlier this month received $10 million from Sheldon Adelson, head of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., and his wife, Miriam, according to a person close to the casino executive.

Super-PACs are playing a role in a presidential race for the first time after a series of court and regulatory rulings cleared the way. Huntsman, who endorsed Romney on Jan. 16, benefited from the support of a super-PAC called Our Destiny.

Our Destiny

Our Destiny brought in $2.7 million last year, with $1.9 million coming from the candidate’s father, Jon Huntsman Sr., according to the group’s FEC report. Huntsman made seven separate donations to the group, giving almost half of the total in December, before the first nominating contests.

Make Us Great Again, a pro-Perry super-PAC, raised $5.5 million last year. Dallas-based Contran Corp. donated $500,000; its chairman, Harold Simmons, is Perry’s second-largest individual contributor, according to Texans for Public Justice, an Austin-based watchdog group.

Texas homebuilder Bob Perry, the biggest lifetime donor to Perry’s gubernatorial campaigns in Texas, gave $100,000 to Make Us Great Again. Perry, who isn’t related to the governor, also gave $502,500 to Romney’s presidential campaign and a super-PAC that backs his candidacy.

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