For Giuliani and Romney, equal cash in the bank

Former governor raised more but he spent more before primaries

April 14, 2007|By Mike Dorning | Mike Dorning,Chicago Tribune

WASHINGTON -- Former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani ran a frugal presidential campaign during the first three months of this year, leaving him with nearly as much money in the bank for next year's Republican presidential primaries as the party's most formidable fundraiser, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Giuliani reported $10.8 million in cash available for the primary season from contributions of $13.6 million for those elections as of March 31. Romney showed a balance of $11.9 million from $20.7 million in contributions.

The major presidential candidates all had announced their fundraising totals at the beginning of April, in several cases showing that they had already brought in eye-popping amounts of money that would have been unimaginable at such an early stage in prior campaigns.

But Giuliani and Romney were the first candidates to file required disclosure reports on fundraising during the first quarter of the year. Those reports will trickle in up until a deadline at midnight tomorrow, offering greater detail on each campaign's financial backers and its spending patterns.

Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican, previously considered a front-runner and now trailing Giuliani in the polls, reported earlier this month that he had raised $12.5 million. Political professionals widely anticipate that his campaign will show a high spending rate, potentially leaving his financial resources far below his major rivals'. McCain recently revamped his fundraising operation.

The Giuliani campaign, the first to file its report yesterday, portrayed his strong bank balance as a sign of thrift to appeal to fiscal conservatives.

"The numbers speak for themselves. We are running an efficient campaign and our fundraising efforts are strong," said Roy Bailey, Giuliani's national finance chairman.

The campaign also showed considerable momentum in its fundraising, with $11.4 million - the bulk of its receipts - coming in during March.

The numbers reveal a Republican field in complete flux. McCain has revamped his fundraising operation to boost his totals. And while Romney received significant attention last week for reporting contributions well ahead of his rivals, he remains in third or fourth place in national polls. Meanwhile, Giuliani's thrifty spending allows him to reassure donors and burnish his image as a fiscal conservative.

For Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, the top donor state was California, followed by Utah, where there is a concentration of donors who, like Romney, are Mormons.

Both campaigns also drew financial support from the candidate's other resources. Romney loaned his campaign $2.35 million from his personal fortune. Giuliani transferred $1.85 million left over from a 2000 bid for the U.S. Senate.

The two campaigns also showed a broad base of financial support, with Romney receiving contributions from more than 32,000 people and Giuliani from 28,000 donors.

"Our biggest challenge is catching our organization up to the popularity of Rudy," said Roy Bailey, the Giuliani campaign's national finance chairman.

Besides spending less than $5.7 million to build an organization in the expensive New York market, Giuliani also reported less than $89,000 in debts. Aides said the report illustrated Giuliani's tightfisted management.

"That indicates the efficient nature of the campaign," said Patrick Oxford, the campaign's national chairman. "Rudy is all over us on this just like he was when he was mayor."

His contributions, from individuals and political committees, totaled $14.77 million. Of that $13.6 million is for the primary. He also transferred $1.85 million to his campaign from his Senate exploratory committee.

A spokesman for Democratic candidate Barack Obama said that the Illinois senator had refunded more than $50,000 in contributions from 49 donors after discovering they were lobbyists. In some cases, the lobbyists' names will appear on the campaign's disclosure statement because their identities were not discovered until after March 31, the campaign said.

Obama has repeatedly said he will not accept campaign contributions from registered federal lobbyists or federal political action committees, a policy also adopted by Democratic candidate John Edwards.

Mike Dorning writes for the Chicago Tribune.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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