Scores of bundlers who have corralled at least $25,000 for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign will be rewarded with Olympic-style honors at the Republican's multimillion-dollar homes on Aug. 15 and Aug. 22.
The bicoastal bashes, which will feature barbeque meals at his Lake Winnipesaukee residence near Wolfeboro, N.H., and at his ocean-front property in La Jolla, Calif., are part of the campaign's effort to reward big fundraisers who have joined its "Medalist Program."
Romney, who ran the host committee for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake, plans to use Olympic medal titles--gold, silver and bronze--to honor his biggest bundlers. The campaign has set fundraising goals for the bundlers of $50,000 to earn a bronze, $100,000 for silver and $250,000 to score the gold, according to a campaign document.
Romney raised $18.25 million in the second quarter, a total considerably lower than the $30 million to $50 million that some of his big fundraisers predicted earlier in the spring.
While Romney's take wasn't what his fundraisers hoped for, it still was way ahead of what his nearest rivals for the nomination have reported to date. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's campaign has said it raised just $4.2 million in the same three-month period.
Further, Romney's campaign is expected to get a nice boost from the $12 million raised in the first six months of this year by a "super PAC," Restore Our Future PAC, which has said publicly it is backing him for president. The PAC is being spearheaded by a few top aides from Romney's abortive 2008 bid for the GOP nomination, including Carl Forti who was political director for that campaign. Unlike his presidential campaign, the PAC can accept unlimited donations but is barred from coordinating any activities with the campaign.
It's unclear how many Romney bundlers have pulled in $25,000 each but fundraisers said it's likely that each of the August bashes will draw over a hundred.
The two luxury homes where Romney will fete his fundraisers are the byproduct of his wealth, much of which came from his years at the private equity firm Bain Capital which he founded in 1984. Romney bought his house in Wolfeboro in 1997 before he was Massachusetts governor for a reported $3 million and a decade later the Boston Globe said the property--which had expanded to 11 acres-- was worth $10 million.
Romney's La Jolla spread next to the Pacific was purchased after his loss in 2008 for a reported $12 million. Located in La Jolla, in northern San Diego, Romney's 3,000 square foot beach side home was once owned by actor Cliff Robertson. It is located in an area populated by a number of fellow Mormons.
Last year, Romney and his wife also bought a townhouse for almost $900,000 in Belmont, Mass., the same upscale suburban community where they raised their five children in another home. In 2009, they sold their first Belmont residence for $3.5 million.