Mitt Romney blew away his Republican rivals in first-quarter fundraising, reporting an “astonishing”–according to the Associated Press–$23 million, close to Hillary Clinton’s record $26 million.
What does it mean? In one sense, not much; no one ever thought that Romney would lack for money. He has the wealth necessary to finance his own campaign, to whatever extent he chooses to do so, and his network of business contacts and supporters in the Mormon church can be counted on to raise large sums. So his number is no surprise, but it could still be significant.
Some have wondered why Romney is considered a first-tier candidate. In some polls, he doesn’t do much better than candidates who aren’t in the race (Newt Gingrich) or who have no resources. But that will change once specific primary campaigns get underway, and Romney brings those financial resources to bear. And the mere fact that he is reported as the party’s most successful fundraiser will cause many to take a closer look at him, and many of those will like what they see.
So Romney’s early fundraising success is a step–a predictable one, but a step nonetheless–toward making him one of the favorites for the nomination.
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