Romney Bundlers Are Key to His Presidential Campaign
If Mitt Romney is victorious in Illinois on Tuesday, it will be due in part to one of his key advantages as a presidential candidate: big-money fundraisers.
Romney has assembled a broad roster of Illinois donors who have helped him bring in millions in President Obama’s backyard, part of a network of hundreds of major fundraisers nationwide that have allowed him to easily outpace the rest of the Republican field.
In a speech at the University of Chicago, Romney said Obama had “attacked the cornerstone of American prosperity.”
That financial advantage has been clear in states such as Michigan, Ohio and, now, Illinois, where Romney and an allied super PAC have outspent challenger Rick Santorum on the airwaves by a ratio of 7 to 1.
In Illinois and around the nation, Romney has built a web of campaign bundlers and other top fundraisers that stands to rival Obama’s, with more than 500 supporters who have raised at least $10,000 for the campaign, according to a review of fundraising invitations, state finance committee lists and other reports.
The top ranks are dominated by hedge fund managers, bank executives and other members of the financial industry, along with a significant number of energy executives, real-estate developers and other business owners, the review shows. The numbers are imprecise because, unlike Obama, Romney has refused to release a list of his top bundlers, who host fundraising events and help collect checks for the campaign.
More than three dozen of Romney’s biggest fundraisers are in the financial hub of Chicago, where a cross-section of the city’s business elite has rallied around the former private equity manager as the best candidate to beat Obama in the fall.