An AP story out of Boston yesterday morning is getting some traction: apparently, some of the 2016 Republican potentials with their sights on the White House are trying to quietly take advantage of Mitt Romney's political operatives, in particular his financial advisers.
Even though the election is three years out, in a world with a 24-hour news cycle and campaigns that last upwards of 80 weeks, it's never too early to start the campaigning. Romney's financial network was able to rapidly generate donor dollars that feed the political machine, and no matter what you think of Romney's politics, everyone must admit that the man knew how to rake in the dollars, and there was a time during the 2012 presidential race that the Romney campaign outspent the Obama campaign.
Romney's finance chairman, Spencer Zwick, said that during the failed candidate's races "We built an interesting network of people. A lot of them would be inclined to get involved again... I would love to be heavily involved." Romney himself did not suggest many of the GOP hopefuls would get the chance he did; in his own words, merely one "or perhaps two" of the potentials has a shot at the White House.
Interviews with over a dozen senior donors conducted by the AP have suggested that those who assisted Romney to generate millions of campaign dollars are politically pragmatic when compared to the recent Republican offerings, meaning they would not respond as positively to rigid and inflexible conservatism. That does not mean donors have been unwilling to throw their hats into the ring; on the contrary, Charles Spies (Mitt Romney's personal Super-PAC heavyweight) has been courted by several Republican hopefuls. Although they were mute as to which ones, the AP's interviews suggested that the donors would stay away from extreme conservative views (like those of Texas Senator Ted Cruz) or unfavorable press (like that which follows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who has his own watchdog website).
At least half a dozen Republican leaders will be weighing their chances at a presidential nomination. A September 23 fundraiser to be held at the home of Romney donor Woody Johnson (who owns the New York Jets) will include New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, and Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan.
Although nobody knows for sure just how much influence Romney continues to exert over his extensive donor network, Romney has called for his party to "stay smart" and nominate candidates who can win. At a New Hampshire Republican Party fundraiser, he said that "My guess is that every one of the contenders would be better than whoever the Democrats put up."[Image via a YouTube video about the Romney 2012 campaign's cash advantage]