Romney's Fundraising Team Planned for Wins
By Matthew Mosk
A month ago it seemed like a great idea -- Mitt Romney would bring his top donors into Boston for a big fundraising phone-a-thon to capitalize on his surefire success in the New Hampshire primary.
The event was set for Wednesday, and was intended to remind folks of the kick-off event Romney held a year earlier, where his initial fundraising supporters came together at a giant phone bank and raised him more than $6 million. Only this time, he would be collecting general election money, and gobs of it, as the campaign burst out of New Hampshire with the momentum of two big early contest victories.
Today, however, there's a catch: Romney finished second in Iowa, and, based on the latest polling, he could see another second place finish in New Hampshire. That outcome won't provide much of a momentum boost.
One Romney supporter called the idea of bringing all his fundraisers together to soak in a potential loss to John McCain in New Hampshire a "very, very dark scenario."
"Obviously, the enthusiasm will be less," said another Romney fundraiser, who is heading to Boston for the event.
But others were more upbeat. Tom Stemberg, the founder of the Staples chain who forged a bond with Romney when the presidential contender's equity firm helped the company find its financial footing, said he believes the fundraising effort will be a success no matter what the outcome in New Hampshire.
"Let's look at it objectively. We would have had three events, one in Iowa, one in Wyoming and New Hampshire. And he would have gotten the gold and two silvers," Stemberg said, referring to Romney's caucus win in Wyoming. "What's wrong with that? No one else is even close. People are throwing expectations around. I bet the excitement level will be high."
Another fundraiser, Washington lobbyist Lee Cowen, agreed. "Even if he comes in second, he'll have two seconds and nobody has done as well as that," he said.
Unlike Romney's first big call day one year ago, this one is closed to press.
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