WASHINGTON - Mitt Romney is on pace to raise between $11 million and $13 million for the latest fund-raising quarter, a haul that would be much lower than the $18.2 million he brought in during the previous three months, according to a person familiar with the campaign’s finances.
Romney’s strong performance in a trio of recent debates had helped his fund-raising by motivating his supporters, but it was not enough to move some of the fence-sitters over to his camp, according to the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the campaign has not publicly released its numbers yet.
With the fund-raising quarter ending today, Romney had an event scheduled last night in Bethesda, Md. He may hold another fund-raiser today in Philadelphia, according to the source.
The Federal Election Commission does not require campaigns to file their reports until Oct. 15.
Romney aides have been forecasting that his top campaign rival, Governor Rick Perry of Texas, will raise more than Romney will even though Perry has been in the race for only six weeks - less than half of the quarter. Perry spokesman Mark Miner has declined to comment on their figures but the campaign has indicated it would probably meet its goal of raising at least $10 million.
Perry is also trying a late push to get as many as 18,000 donations by tonight - the same number of jobs that were lost in Massachusetts as a result of Romney’s health care plan, according to a disputed study by the Beacon Hill Institute. A running tally on the Perry campaign website indicated he was close.
Romney had about 11,000 donors during his first quarter of fund-raising, according to FEC records.
“The first reporting period is usually the best finance report for a campaign,’’ said Gail Gitcho, communications director for Romney. “We are going to raise considerably less than what we did in our first reporting period, but we will still meet our finance goals for this quarter.’’
Romney raised $18.2 million during the first fund-raising period after he announced his candidacy in the spring, a tally that towered over his rivals’ results.
But it appears that Romney will be behind the pace he set during his first campaign, when he was relatively unknown on the national stage and was competing with a strong field of fund-raisers. It’s a signal either that the down economy is causing donors to contribute less or that the GOP financiers are still not sold on Romney.
During the first six months of his last campaign, he raised $35 million and also loaned himself $8.8 million. During the first six months of this campaign, he appears on pace to raise about $31 million. He has not loaned himself any money during this campaign and will not do so this quarter, Gitcho said.
“He continues to do very well, he continues to have fund-raisers around the country,’’ Mel Sembler, a Florida developer and one of Romney’s top fund-raisers, said in a recent interview. “This is a distance race, not a dash.’’
Independent outside groups have also been raising money for Romney and Perry, and they are expected to play a major role in the primary race. An outside group dedicated to helping Romney, Restore our Future PAC, raised $10 million during the first six months of this year.
Among other candidates, Representative Ron Paul of Texas is planning to report at least $5 million, according to his campaign manager, Jesse Benton.
Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota is not planning to announce her figures before the Oct. 15 filing deadline, according to spokeswoman Alice Stewart. Spokesmen for former governor Jon Huntsman of Utah, former senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, and businessman Herman Cain did not respond yesterday to requests about their finances.
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, whose campaign was $1 million in debt after the last quarter, was in no mood yesterday to entertain questions about his fund-raising.
“See, I knew you couldn’t resist. I’m not going to answer you,’’ Gingrich told reporters in Des Moines, according to the Los Angeles Times. “You should really go home and think about why you would even ask that today.’’
As a sign of the types of challenges Republicans will have in going up against the Democratic incumbent, President Obama and the Democratic National Committee are aiming to raise $55 million during this quarter. They raised $86 million during the last quarter.
The hosts for Romney’s $500-a-person fund-raiser last night were brothers J.W. Marriott Jr. and Richard Marriott and their wives. Romney has longstanding ties to the Marriott family. His father, George Romney, was close with J.W. Marriott Sr., and Mitt Romney’s first name, Willard, comes from the hotel magnate.
J.W. Marriott Jr., his brother, and their wives were the largest contributors to Romney’s political action committees in recent years, giving some $230,000 to Free and Strong America between 2008 and 2010. More recently, the brothers each gave $500,000 to Restore Our Future.
In between presidential campaigns, Romney also was a member of the hotel company’s board. He stepped down in January this year.