Romney, Obama Both Tapping Mass. For Campaign Cash
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BOSTON (AP) — Mitt Romney and Barack Obama aren’t spending much time stumping for votes in Massachusetts, but that hasn’t stopped them from using the Bay State as a campaign ATM.
The two have so far raised more than $12.6 million in direct contributions from residents of Massachusetts — a Democratic-leaning state that both parties have all but conceded will likely back Obama in the fall.
While Romney’s most recent campaign bus trip skipped over the state he governed for four years, he still has plenty of Massachusetts supporters.
He’s already collected nearly $4.9 million in direct contributions from Massachusetts residents as of the end of May. That’s from a state where Republicans make up just over 11 percent of the electorate.
Obama, who easily won the state in 2008 and is leading here by double digits in one recent poll, has pulled in more than $7.7 million in contributions as of the end of the month.
Each candidate has different pockets of support in the state, according to an Associated Press review of Federal Election Commission records.
Obama, for instance, raised more than $939,000 from Cambridge, which is home to Harvard University and has a reputation as one of the most liberal communities in the state. Obama graduated from Harvard Law School.
Romney, who graduated from Harvard with joint law and business degrees, raised just $120,000 from the city.
But he was stronger in some of the state’s wealthier communities, like Wellesley, where he collected $379,000, more than twice as much as Obama’s $165,000.
Obama has also outraised Romney in Boston and in liberal-leaning communities like Brookline and Newton.
The totals cited in the FEC reports don’t include money raised during the current quarter from joint fundraising committees of the candidates and political parties.
Obama is hoping to add to his total with a series of fundraisers in Massachusetts on Monday, including an event at Boston’s historic Symphony Hall.
“It’s clear that the more people learn about Mitt Romney, the less they like what they see,” said Obama campaign spokesman Michael Czin. “Those in Massachusetts who know Romney well reject his failed policies.”
Romney, who co-founded the private equity firm Bain Capital before being elected governor, has long ties in his adopted state.
Peter Blute, a former GOP congressman and deputy chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party, said those connections give Romney a deep vein of support.
“Mitt Romney has built a lot of success here, not just for himself but for a lot of other people,” Blute said. “I think Romney is regarded as a successful businessman and a successful governor so he’s got a financial base to tap into.”
Although Blute conceded Romney has a tough road to victory in Massachusetts, he predicted he would do better than expected.
While both candidates rely on the check-writing prowess of Massachusetts residents, their public visibility in the state has been low.
One of the most recent, high-profile campaign events with Obama in Massachusetts came near the end of the 2010 special election to fill the Senate seat left vacant by the death of Edward Kennedy.
Obama visited the state to make a last minute attempt to rally support for Democrat Martha Coakley, who lost to Republican Scott Brown.
“Understand what’s at stake here, Massachusetts. It’s whether we’re going forward or going backwards,” Obama said during the rally two days before the election.
Romney has kept an equally low profile — although he returned to the state to cast his primary ballot in March.
He gave a speech that evening during an event at the Westin Copley Place hotel in Boston where he acknowledged his support among Republicans in his home state. He handily won the primary.
“We’re going to take your vote, a huge vote tonight in Massachusetts, and take that vote all the way to the White House,” Romney told his backers at the time.
Obama will continue the tradition of tapping the wallets and pocketbooks of Massachusetts residents this week.
The first fundraiser Monday is a small campaign roundtable at Hamersley’s Bistro in the city’s South End neighborhood with 25 people. Tickets cost $40,000 per person.
Next Obama will deliver remarks to about 1,800 people at Symphony Hall. General admission started at $250 with top seats going for $2,500. A limited number of $144 tickets were available for younger supporters.
Obama wraps up his Monday trip with a fundraising dinner with 100 people at a private home in Weston with tickets costing $17,900 per person and $35,800 per couple.
Money from all three events will go to a joint fundraising committee of Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee and several state Democratic parties.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.