Romney Lags in Small Donors as Big Givers Hit Limits

March 8, 2012 12:00 am

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Even in an age of super PACs -- which are likely to spend tens of millions of dollars on behalf of the eventual Republican nominee -- small-dollar fund-raising matters: It provides not only cash, but a way to engage volunteers, measure enthusiasm and organize get-out-the-vote efforts.

President Obama boasts the most sophisticated small-donor operation in political history and is trying to replicate his successes from the 2008 campaign. About 1.4 million people donated to his re-election effort through January, many fewer than the 5 million people in his campaign's databank, but many more than any of the Republicans' donors.

The intensifying nominating fight has helped narrow the grass-roots fund-raising gap between the Republican field and Mr. Obama. In January, Republican candidates raised a combined $8.4 million in checks under $200, compared with $5.2 million for Mr. Obama.

A campaign official said Mr. Romney had recorded 122,525 individual donors to date who gave $250 or less.

But Jeanne White, a Romney supporter and an insurance agent from Duluth, Ga., is not yet among them.

"I haven't yet because I pretty much just decided and I probably will," Ms. White, 49, said.

"I mean, I'm sure," she added. "I mean, I will. "

Derek Willis contributed reporting.

First Published 2012-03-07 23:08:53

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