Mitt Romney hopes to raise $800 million in conjunction with the Republican National Committee, raising the prospect of a presidential election that shatters previous fundraising records.
The likely Republican nominee aims to bring in $300 million through small donors, and $500 million in larger chunks through the Romney Victory fund, according to an internal memo obtained by the New York Times. The $500 million total by itself would easily eclipse the approximately $368 million that Sen. John McCain raised as the 2008 Republican nominee.
In setting such ambitious totals, Romney's campaign is acknowledging that it will need to contend with the vast amounts of money President Barack Obama's re-election push is likely to raise. In addition to boasting a formidable fundraising operation, Obama will be able to call upon the Super PACs -- entities that can raise unlimited amounts of money and spend money on behalf of candidates, although they cannot officially coordinate with campaigns -- that have already played an outsize role in the Republican presidential primary.
Romney outpaced his Republican presidential rivals in fundraising, reporting $75.6 million through the end of February, while the pro-Romney Restore Our Future Super PAC collected $36.6 million over the same time period. But Obama easily outdid Romney during February, raising $45 million to Romney's $11.5 million.
That gap is likely to narrow as donors coalesce behind Romney's candidacy. Romney has already shifted into general election mode, offering donors who have given at least $50,000 to Romney Victory special access to the candidate, including invitations to his potential inauguration ceremony. The Democratic National Committee pounced, saying Romney would empower prominent donors.
Unless we build a stronger organization starting right now, Romney high-dollar donors, Karl Rove, and the Koch Brothers could be planning on where they'll be sitting come January, as Republicans win across the country, an email from the DNC announced.