Burning through his money stash and running out of time, Mitt Romney desperately needs that Michigan victory. (Jim Young/Reuters)
Turns out that Mitt Romney has
spent a lot of money
Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign spent nearly three times the money it generated in January, according to federal documents filed Monday night, but a top official described the operation’s fundraising efforts as “on track.”
The Romney for President committee spent nearly $18.8 million against more than $6.5 million raised in January, and it reported $7.67 million cash on hand as of the month’s end.
Ha ha ha, "on track." Sure! I mean, maybe they expected to raise that kind of money, but they didn't expect to be spending so much of it. His Super PAC isn't
doing much better. Combined:
Romney’s presidential campaign and the super PAC supporting him pulled in $13.1 million in January, but spent $32.7 million in the same month — an astounding burn rate more than double any of his rivals’ campaigns or super PACs.
Had Romney knocked out his GOP opponents early, that's $32.7 million that would be going into anti-Obama efforts. Instead, it's money being spent in their circular firing squad. And nevermind how ineffective
it's been, the fact is that he's had to spend a crap-ton of cash to find himself in a hole against Rick Santorum, who just can't raise any money, period.
Now those are January numbers, and didn't include his
big spending in Colorado and Minnesota (while ignoring Missouri and Minnesota), or his even bigger spending trying to stay alive in Michigan and Arizona. So what money they had in the bank at the end of January is probably severely depleted, and he's not picking up new donors.
The filings also show Romney’s fundraising operation is struggling to pick up momentum, seeing a minimal surge in cash after his big New Hampshire win and a plunge after his South Carolina loss.
If South Carolina hurt, can you imagine what his trifecta loss a few weeks ago did? And here's why we need this GOP primary contest to keep going.
“[Romney] has enough money to compete in Michigan, but if he doesn’t do well, he will have a dry spell, and he might have to lend himself money, as he did four years ago,” said Michael Malbin, whose Campaign Finance Institute tracks fundraising and spending. “If he does well in Michigan, he probably won’t need to."
Given that over half his donors are maxed out (unlike, say, Obama's small-dollar donor base), Romney can't keep going to them for additional money. Every dime spent against Santorum and Gingrich is a dime not spent in the general election. And if he's forced to dig into his own pockets to finance his campaign, not only does Romney take a PR hit, but he also damages his ability to fundraise among small-dollar donors. Indeed, those small-dollar donors already decided to let the rich guy write his own checks.
Now look how close Michigan has become:
And that's why we're urging Democrats in Michigan to accept the state GOP's invitation to participate in their open primary
with a vote for Santorum (in addition to open contests in Vermont, Tennessee and North Dakota). I know many of you don't like it, but if we want an extended primary that continues to damage Romney while bleeding him financially dry, then Michigan Democrats can help make that happen.
Because if Romney wins Michigan, he's taken a major step toward wrapping this thing up sooner rather than later, and that's not in the Democrats' best interests.