Update: Kung Fu Quip confirms my back-of-the-envelope calculations on Romney’s fundraising. Actually, he quotes Romney confirming it.
Last night, I spent a lot of time on the phone with fundraisers and campaign operatives from around the country gossiping about the fundraising numbers. Here are some thoughts that emerged.
First, Romney’s results speak to the strength of his donor base. As Hotline’s Marc Ambinder repeatedly points out, Mitt Romney has the largest low-hanging fruit network known to politics. The idea that this is because of his "message" is laughable. The dude has zillions of rich friends. He was an investment banker and venture capitalist. Those guys have lots of dough. Proof? Compare the number of donors and contribution sizes. Romney had about 35,000, and McCain 60,000. The average size of Romney donations was 4x larger than McCain. This tells us that a lot of people were cutting big checks to Romney. Which matches his profile (not his message)
Second, we tried to answer the question, what happened to John McCain? The first part of the answer is probably that, like Hillary, they didn’t think that they needed to start this early. As a number of reports have noted, the McCain campaign didn’t start fundraising until March. The McCain campaign simply wasn’t putting together events. The second part of the answer is there were organizational problems that have been noted. McCain startled shuffling several weeks ago. The problem that the McCain campaign has is that now they have a quarter of bad fundraising and struggling nation-wide poll numbers, although pretty good in the early states. The fundraising team is going to have to become more aggressive. And McCain is going to have to do the rubber chicken circuit.
Third, Rudy Giuliani did a great job. $15m is a great late-start number. They should be happy and proud, especially because of their low burn-rate.
Fourth, Sam Brownback substantially differentiated himself from the rest of the second tier candidates, essentially putting him in a second tier alone, and moving the rest to the third tier.