WASHINGTON -- A spokeswoman for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney announced Wednesday that Romney raised $11.5 million in February, his second best fundraising month of the cycle. The big number should come as a relief to the Romney campaign after it burned through $18.7 million while only raising $6.4 million in January.
The February fundraising haul also provides evidence that elite donor support may have solidified around Romney's candidacy prior to Super Tuesday, where Romney padded his delegate lead in the primary race for the Republican presidential nomination. Romney had a sizable donor pool to tap, as he has received contributions from only 40 percent of the big-dollar donors who contributed to his 2008 bid for the nomination.
Unknown is whether Romney's call for people to visit his web site during his Michigan primary victory speech provided a boost to his flagging small donor operation. Romney, who has faced criticism for making comments emphasizing his wealth, has been the candidate most reliant on donors giving the maximum $2,500 to his campaign. Those donors, once maxed out, cannot be tapped again by the campaign, while a wide pool of small donors can provide large sums of money for a longer period of time. Small donors have accounted for only 9 percent of Romney's total donations so far. Maxed-out donors account for more than 40 percent.
After Romney reported his January fundraising and expenses on February 20 HuffPost ran a calculation projecting when Romney would run out of money if he were to keep up the same burn rate ($603,225/day) and same fundraising pace ($206,451/day) in February as he did in January. With his fundraising totals for February now known, that same calculation shows that Romney would have ended February with $1.7 million cash on hand had he continued spending money at the same rate.
Romney's spending, however, was markedly lower in February than in January, when he spent $8.47 million on television advertising. The only state where his campaign spent any significant money in February was Michigan, where it spent $1.5 million on advertising, according to the Washington Post.
This should provide Romney with a continued healthy financial lead over his rivals. The primary season has shown that money can't buy voters' love, but it might be enough to buy Romney the wins and delegates necessary to put away his competition.