Prospective Republican candidates for the 2016 presidential elections are quietly networking with senior members of Mitt Romney’s donors. Even though his presidential bid ultimately fell short, Romney’s fundraising campaign was considered a great success.
The election is still three years away, yet Romney’s “fundraising lieutenants – some new to national politics and others well-entrenched political players – are beginning to look for a new home as the potential field of Republican presidential candidates grows,” according to the Associated Press.
Republican hopefuls are “aggressively seeking face time” with former Romney campaign donors at meet-and-greet events across the country. Romney’s campaign collected a total of $446 million, vastly surpassing the previous Republican presidential candidate fundraising records.
Half a dozen potential Republican candidates for 2016, including Gov. Chris Christie (NJ), Sen. Marco Rubio (FL), Sen. Rand Paul (KY), and Rep. Paul Ryan (WI), are expected to attend a fundraiser this month at the home of New York Jets owner and senior Romney donor, Woody Johnson, the AP reports. They will also attend a fundraiser in Washington partly organized by Lisa Spies, wife of the Romney super PAC founder, Charlie Spies.
Spies’ super PAC alone raised over $150 million for Romney’s campaign. Here are some examples of the involvement so far between the Romney money machine and potential 2016 Republican candidates Christie and Rubio:
Gov. Chris Christie (NJ) – met privately with Romney finance chairman Spencer Zwick in Boston; has received donations from 2 Romney “bundlers,” or people who help steer contributions from multiple donors to one candidate; courted out-of-state donors to overcome fundraising rules in his home state; was a featured speaker at a Utah conference in June, which was organized by Romney and attended by prominent Romney donors
Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) – his PAC has received donations from 7 Romney bundlers that previously generated a total of $1.8 million for Romney’s campaign; another 4 Romney bundlers are organizing a Washington fundraising reception for him later this month; received early interest from Romney’s network
As for Mitt Romney, he has said he believes that “Every one of the contenders would be better than whoever the Democrats put up.” At a Republican Party fundraiser in New Hampshire last month, Romney called on his party to “stay smart.” While Romney hasn’t mentioned names, his donors have privately suggested that they would likely avoid supporting conservative “firebrands” like Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Ted Cruz (TX), or Gov. Scott Walker (WI), according to the AP.
In a recent interview, Romney finance chairman Zwick said that he would love to be “heavily involved” in new presidential fundraising campaigns. “We built an interesting network of people [during the Romney fundraising campaign],” he said. “A lot of them would be inclined to get involved again.”