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The GOP Whale Chase

As the first quarter fundraising deadline fast approaches, the leading contenders for the 2008 presidential nomination are in a full-on sprint to raise cash and recruit the party insiders who can deliver it by the bagful.

The name of the game in this new fundraising world -- where winning the nomination could cost upwards of $100 million and the general election price tag may hover at $500 million per candidate -- is not finding a single rich donor but rather a well-connected donor. A lone, affluent individual can only donate $4,600 to a candidate for the entirety of the campaign. But recruiting a donor with a fat Rolodex who can bundle 10 or even 100 $4,600 checks ... well, then a candidate is in business.

At The Fix we call these big bundlers "Whales" and have spent considerable time tracking which of the candidates is enjoying the most success in the courting of them.

Thanks to President Bush's meticulous documentation of bundlers during his 2000 and 2004 campaigns, Republicans running in 2008 not only have a blueprint for building a huge national infrastructure but the names of the best construction workers in the business.

Starting last year several of the leading GOP candidates began courting the Bush-Cheney list of "Pioneers" (those who raised $100,000 for the president's campaign) and "Rangers" (those who collected $200,000 or more).

The battle for the bulk of the Bush money machine is currently a two-man race between John McCain and former Mitt Romney. Both have assiduously courted these coveted donors and already have much to show for their efforts.

By our latest count, McCain now has 29 Rangers and 19 Pioneers committed to collecting cash for his 2008 effort. Compare that to 20 Rangers and 11 Pioneers signed up with Romney.

Rudy Giuliani, who national polls put at the top of the Republican field, lags far behind with just seven Rangers and eight Pioneers in his camp. (We think Giuliani may be playing a bit coy, however, as his campaign has generally kept the details of its fundraising operation private -- perhaps in hopes of scoring a major surprise come March 31 when reports are due at the Federal Election Commission. Need evidence? Check out this post by the Politico's Jonathan Martin about Giuliani's upcoming D.C. fundraiser.)

Securing the most Rangers and Pioneers doesn't mean a candidate will win the nomination or even lead the money chase. But it is a significant yardstick for measuring establishment support in these (still) early days of the nomination fight. Whales tend to be savvy investors and don't throw their support and their money around lightly. The more whales McCain and Romney land, therefore, the more likely it becomes they will land even more. Even the super rich and super connected want to be with the winner.

Our full list of Republican Whales is below. Names that have not appeared before on The Fix are in ALL CAPS. The Fix's most recent post on the Democrats' money chance is online here.

The GOP Whale List

Rudy Giuliani (7 Rangers, 8 Pioneers)

Bruce Gelb, retired Bristol-Myers Squibb (N.Y.) -- PIONEER
Cathy Govan, DGM & Associates (Mich.) -- PIONEER
Michael Govan, Legacy Group (Va.) -- PIONEER
DICK HUG, ENVIRONMENTAL ELEMENTS CORPORATION -- RANGER
Jim Lee, James H. Lee Investments (Texas) -- PIONEER
Linda Maynor, Blach & Bingham (Ala.) -- RANGER
Terry Neese, Terry Neese Enterprises (Okla.) -- RANGER
Steve Payne, Payne Consulting (Texas) -- RANGER
J. Bryan Pickens, Pickens Investments (Texas) -- RANGER
Paulette Pyle, Oregonians for Food & Shelter (Ore.) -- PIONEER
RAUL ROMERO, S&B INFRASTRUCTURE (Texas) -- RANGER
Paul Singer, Elliott Associates (N.Y.) -- PIONEER
Barron Thomas, Barron Thomas Aviation (N.J.) -- PIONEER
DIRK VAN DONGEN, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF WHOLESALER-MANUFACTURERS (D.C.) RANGER
Barry Wynn, Colonial Trust Group (S.C.) -- PIONEER

John McCain (31 Rangers, 20 Pioneers)

Lawrence Bathgate II, Bathgate Wegener (N.J.) -- RANGER
Wayne Berman, Berman Strategies (D.C.) -- RANGER
Harold Beznos, Beztaks Cos. (Mich.) -- PIONEER
CHARLIE BLACK, BMSK (D.C) -- PIONEER
JUDY BLACK (D.C.) -- PIONEER
KIRK BLALOCK, Fierce Isakowitz and Blalock (D.C.) -- PIONEER
Mark Broxmeyer, Fairfield Properties (N.Y.) -- PIONEER
JAMES BRULTE, former state senator (Calif.) -- RANGER
AUGUST A. BUSCH III, Anheuser-Busch (Mo.) -- RANGER
Bill Clements, former Texas Governor (Texas) PIONEER
JAMES CLICK, AUTO DEALER (Ariz.) -- RANGER
JAMES COURTER, IDT (N.J.) -- RANGER
Patrick Durkin, Credit Suisse First Boston (Conn.) -- RANGER
David Girard Carlo, Blank Rome (Pa.) -- RANGER
STEVE GORDON, FUNDRAISER (D.C.) -- PIONEER
Lew Eisenberg, Granite Capital International Group (N.J.) -- RANGER
Robert Fannin, Steptoe & Johnson (Ariz.) -- RANGER
THOMAS "MARTY" FIORENTINO JR., Fiorentino & Hewett (Fla.) -- RANGER
C. EDWARD FLOYD, Heart Surgeon (S.C.) -- RANGER
Jon Hammes, retired Hammes & Co. (Wis.) -- RANGER
Kent Hance, former Congressman (Texas) -- PIONEER
SAM HARDAGE, Woodfin (Calif.) -- PIONEER
RICHARD HOHLT, lobbyist (Va.) -- RANGER
GAYLORD HUGHEY JR., attorney (Texas) -- PIONEER
ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON IV, Johnson & Johnson (N.Y.) -- RANGER
MUNR KAZMIR, Direct Meds Inc. (N.J.) -- RANGER
BILL KILBERG, Gibson Dunn and Crutcher (Va.) -- RANGER
MARK KIRK, U.S. Representative (Ill.) -- RANGER
HENRY KRAVIS, KKR (N.Y.) -- PIONEER
JON KYL, U.S. Senator (Ariz.) -- RANGER
Chuck Larson, Iowa state senator (Iowa) -- RANGER
Tom Loeffler, lobbyist (Texas) -- RANGER
DAVID METZNER, lobbyist (D.C.) -- PIONEER
PHIL MONTGOMERY, P.O.B. MONTGOMERY & CO. (Texas) -- PIONEER
James Nicholson, PVS Chemicals (Mich.) -- RANGER
DENNIS NIXON, International Bank of Commerce (Texas) -- RANGER
Eric Nye, TXU (Texas) -- PIONEER
Gerald Parsky, Aurora Capital Group (Calif.) -- PIONEER
Carter Pate, PricewatershouseCoopers (D.C./Texas) -- PIONEER
TIM PAWLENTY, Governor (Minn.) -- PIONEER
Gerry Perenchio, Univision (Calif.) -- PIONEER
Sergio Pino, Century Partners Group (Fla.) -- RANGER
ALEC POITEVINT, State Republican Party Chairman (Ga.) -- PIONEER
Sig Rogich, Rogich Communications Group (Nev.) -- RANGER
GORDON SMITH, U.S. Senator (Ore.) -- RANGER
FRED SMITH, Fed Ex (Tenn.) -- RANGER
BARBARA SOBEL, Wife of U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands (N.J.) -- RANGER
MARC STERN, TCW Group (Calif.) -- RANGER
G. KENNEDY THOMPSON, Wachovia (N.C.) -- RANGER
Ron Weiser, former U.S. Ambassador to Slovakia (Mich.) -- PIONEER
FRED ZEIDMAN, attorney (TEXAS) -- RANGER

Mitt Romney (19 Rangers, 11 Pioneers)

Bruce Benson, Benson Mineral Group (Colo.) -- RANGER
STEVE AND KIMMY BRAUER (Mo.) -- RANGER
BILL BRISBEN, BRISBEN DEVELOPMENT (Ohio) -- RANGER
Al Cardenas, Tew Cardenas (Fla.) -- RANGER
Christopher Collins, Collins Nickas & Company (Mass.) -- RANGER
Herb Collins, Boston Capital Partners (Mass.) -- RANGER
Bill Danhof, Miller Canfield (Mich.) -- PIONEER
Alan Fabian, Southwest Medical Center (Md.) -- PIONEER
JEFF FOX, HARBOUR GROUP (Mo.) -- RANGER
David Fischer, The Suburban Collection (Mich.) -- PIONEER
BRAD FREEMAN, VENTURE CAPITALIST (Calif.) -- RANGER
YOUSIF GHAFARI, GHAFARI INC. (Mich.) -- RANGER
MARK GUZZETTA, DEVELOPER (Fla.) -- RANGER
John Harris, Harris Farms (Calif.) PIONEER
MORI HOSSEINI, ICI HOMES (Fla.) -- RANGER
J.C. HUIZENGA, NATIONAL HERITAGE ACADEMIES (Mich.) -- PIONEER
CHRISTOPHER JENNY, PARTHENON GROUP (Mass.) -- PIONEER
SHELDON KAMINS, BLUM, FRANK AND KAMINS (Md.) -- RANGER
Ron Kaufman, Dutko Group (D.C.) -- PIONEER
FRED "TED" LAZENBY, RETIRED INSURANCE EXECUTIVE (Tenn.) -- RANGER
Howard Leach, Leach Capital (Calif.) -- RANGER
STEVE LESSING, LEHMAN BROTHERS (N.Y.) -- RANGER
ED LEVY, LEVY COMPANY (Mich.) -- PIONEER
GARY MORSE, DEVELOPER (Fla.) -- RANGER
Joe O'Donnell, Boston Concessions Group (Mass.) -- PIONEER
John Rakolta, Walbridge Aldinger (Mich.) -- RANGER
L.E. Simmons, SCF Partners (Texas) -- PIONEER
Eric Tanenblatt, McKenna Long Aldridge (Ga.) -- RANGER
Tom Tellefsen, Tellefsen Investments (Calif.) -- RANGER
WILLIAM WELD, FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR (N.Y.) -- PIONEER

-- Chris Cillizza

By washingtonpost.com Editors  |  March 13, 2007; 10:18 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008 , Republican Party  
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