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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Chickens, Eggs, and GOP Contributors

Campaign finance will be a big topic in the 2012 Republican nomination race. The New York Times reports:

The vaunted Republican network of high-dollar donors and fund-raisers, for so long a fear factor for Democrats, has been slow to commit itself to the 2012 presidential candidates, contributing to the faltering start of the party’s drive to unseat President Obama.

Others have less support and may have to compete with groups like American Crossroads, affiliated with Karl Rove.

So far, only former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts has assembled a strong bench of the top Republican financiers. Scores of other fund-raisers remain unaligned, waiting with their money — and contact lists — in their pockets as prospective candidates bombard them with phone calls, e-mails and in-person visits around the nation.

“It’s not at the top of the agenda for most folks right now,” said Brian Ballard, the Florida finance chairman for Senator John McCain’s 2008 presidential bid, who has heard from all of the potential hopefuls this year but, like many of his associates, has yet to choose a 2012 candidate.

A result is the chicken-egg dynamic that is delaying the party’s urgent need to begin raising money to defeat an incumbent president whose fund-raising goals are as high as $1 billion. Potential candidates have been slow to get into the race without the assurance that they can raise the money necessary for a credible campaign, while donors are waiting

to see how the field develops before making decisions.

Romney's exploratory committee is just getting started, but one can get a sense of his funding sources by looking at the affiliations of contributors to his leadership PAC, the Free and Strong America PAC. In the 2010 cycle, the top ten sources were:

(The contributions came from individuals, not corporate PACs.)