In an attempt to bolster both his name recognition and the credibility of his campaign, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had scheduled a whopping 20 fundraising events for the month of March. Romney’s fundraising got off to a good start when he held a creative event called National Call Day. On January 9, he brought all of his top supporters to Boston, and put them to work seeking donations within their personal and professional networks. The event raised $6.5 million. The first month of his campaign also raised $1.4 million on line.

We will find out how successful Romney was when the campaigns first fundraising disclosure form is released to the public on April 15. Most of the campaigns in the 2008 race have fundraising targets between $15-20 million by the time the deadline for filing disclosure forms with the FEC rolls around on March 31. Political analysts estimate that candidates will need to raise $100 million each to be competitive in the 2008 primaries and caucuses. For Mitt Romney, out fundraising John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, or both of them, would put him on the news radar, and help him be viewed as a credible candidate who can compete with the frontrunners.

The strategy that Romney is employing has worked in the past. In the 2004 campaign season, Howard Dean was a nobody candidate until he started raising millions of dollars from Internet donors. John Edwards was an unknown too, until the financial disclosure form for the first quarter of 2003 was released. It revealed that Edwards had only raised $100,000 less than eventual nominee, John Kerry. Edwards’s fundraising ability landed him media attention that he might have never gotten otherwise. That attention led to more fundraising, and strong showings at the polls, which resulted in Kerry selecting Edwards as his running mate.

Every poll that is released shows Romney trailing McCain and Giuliani by double digit margins. In some polls, Romney even trails Newt Gingrich, who hasn’t announced his candidacy, and may not even run. Through fundraising Romney can show that he does have support, and that he belongs with the leaders. “Clearly the inside-the-Beltway folks, the opinion leaders, are looking at that as a leading indicator of popular support and an ability to mount a national campaign,” Romney spokesman Kevin Madden said. Romney is a gifted fundraiser, but once he has the attention of the media and voters, we he be able to take advantage of it? I think that no matter how much money Romney raises he has a tough road ahead of him. The candidates ahead of him are well known national figures. I believe that both McCain and Giuliani would have to stumble badly for him to have a shot at the Republican nomination.

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics

Jason can also be heard every Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse 

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