Romney Would Get Help From Rivals' Wealthy Donors

If Mitt Romney wins the Republican presidential nomination, he will have the backing of several wealthy donors who together have contributed millions of dollars to his rivals in the race.

The donors, some of the big-money players behind the unprecedented spending in the state-by-state race for the Republican nomination, quietly have pledged to back Romney if their initial choice isn't the nominee, one donor himself and sources close to other donors said.

The donors include Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons and Houston homebuilder Bob Perry, supporters of Texas Governor Rick Perry before he dropped out of the race last month. Also pledging conditional allegiance to Romney: Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, whose family has donated nearly $11 million to support Newt Gingrich; and Foster Friess, a Wyoming investor who is Rick Santorum's chief benefactor.

Sources close to each donor say that in accepting Romney as a consolation candidate, the financiers are united by one idea: a desire for the Republican nominee to defeat Democratic President Barack Obama in the November 6 election.

The conditional commitments to Romney also could help the former Massachusetts governor match the fundraising firepower of Obama, who will face the Republican nominee in the November 6 elections.

Obama's campaign had raised almost $97 million by the end of last year, far more than any of the Republican campaigns. However, Priorities USA, the PAC that supports Obama, had raised a relatively paltry $4.2 million.

Most wealthy Democratic donors have yet to kick in donations because Obama was slow to encourage such contributions and has not had an opponent in the primaries.

"When they see what the eventual (Republican) nominee's Super PAC can do, they'll step up," said Republican strategist Ford O'Connell, who worked on the 2008 presidential campaign of Republican Senator John McCain against Obama. "The Obama campaign realizes they need a Super PAC because it's a weapon and he really needs every weapon in his arsenal."

Read more from Alina Selyukh at Reuters

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published this page in In The News 2012-02-15 22:00:00 -0500
Analysis & Political Strategy