WASHINGTON -- Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are in the midst of a fundraising swing that is taking them to some unexpected locations that appear to have limited electoral significance.
On Thursday, Ryan held back-to-back fundraisers in Knoxville and Memphis, Tenn., two cities in a reliably Republican state.
Tomorrow, Romney is set to hold a fundraiser in Philadelphia. A fundraising invitation published by the Sunlight Foundation says that he and Ryan will then meet up in Chestnut Hill, Mass. for two fundraising events. Two days later, Ryan will host two events in Connecticut -- one in West Hartford and one in Darien.
These come on the heels of a fundraiser that Ryan hosted on Sept. 25 in Houston, Texas and a reception that Romney held Sept. 27 in Washington, D.C.
It's not uncommon for candidates to venture off of the campaign trail to go raise money. And often times, this means heading to states and cities that will have little to no impact on the election's outcome. President Barack Obama does it too, the idea being that the money you can raise in, say, Tennessee, goes further in helping you reach voters in Iowa than actually campaigning in Iowa would.
But the Romney campaign's fundraising swing still stands out as a bit peculiar for its timing. The Houston event, for instance, took Ryan off of the bus tour that he and Romney were doing in Ohio. Moreover, after the Republican convention, top Romney fundraiser Woody Johnson told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that he expected the campaign to shift gears and start raising money without physically sending candidates to events.
Certainly, at a time when Romney is trying to present himself as more accessible to voters, and scrambling to erase polling deficits in key swing states, the argument could be made that Romney should focus more closely on those states.
The fundraising swing also suggests that the Romney campaign is running low on high-end donors to support its operations. The Chestnut Hill event is an exception. It will feature some Bay State bigwigs and bring in a good chunk of change. The reception has a $50,000 price tag for VIP entrance and attendees will be charged $25,000 or $10,000 for a photo. According to the Boston Globe, there will be a $75,000-plate fundraiser at the home of New England Patriots President Jonathan Kraft afterward.
Tennessee and West Hartford, however, are not traditional stops for presidential candidates looking for dollars. Ryan raised $1 million in one stop at the former, and will be raising money in $10,000, $5,000, and $1,000 allotments at the latter.
Luke Johnson and Amanda Terkel contributed reporting.