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From the Manchester Union Leader website, on the Romney $6.5 million raised yesterday:

“I think it’s going to be a very strong message today — to everybody,” said Tom Tellefsen, a former Harvard Business School classmate of Romney’s and President Bush who was a fundraising “Pioneer” and “Super-Ranger” for past Bush campaigns.

“I think it’s going to be a strong message to McCain as well as Giuliani, and I think it’s going to be a strong message to those that are considering or haven’t really yet laid the groundwork that maybe they should have,” added Tellefsen, a Romney national fundraising co-chairman.

The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza adds:

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney raised $6.5 million for his presidential exploratory committee yesterday, sending a powerful message to his potential opponents about the seriousness of his bid for the Republican nomination.

Romney gathered about 400 of his largest financial backers for an all-day call-a-thon at the Boston convention center. The group included politicians such as Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt, former Massachusetts governor William F. Weld and former lieutenant governor Kerry Healey, as well as deep-pocketed fundraisers such as Utah billionaire Jon Huntsman Sr., eBay chief executive Meg Whitman and Tennessee money man Ted Welch.

From The Hotline, four days ago:

Hours after his predecessor was sworn in, Ex-MA Gov. Mitt Romney released a list of major Republican donors who have agreed to help him raise millions for his presidential campaign.

Several people on the list have been public supporters of Romney’s for a while, like Jon Huntsman, Sr., the developer and father of Utah’s governor, John Miller, the founder of the National Beef Backing Company, John Rakolta Jr., chair of the largest homebuilding corporation in the Midwest, and eBay CEO Meg Whitman, a billionaire.

But one new name stands out: Ted Welch, the Tennessee investment banker who masterminded Sen. Lamar Alexander‘s (R-TN) $20 million haul in 1996 and who, since he the RNC’s finance chair in 1977, has been one of the party’s most proficient and generous fundraisers.

Welch was courted by a bevy of Republican presidential candidates after ex-Maj. Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) decided not to run. He reportedly was upset that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) backed Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) for the post of minority whip instead of Alexander.

More at the campaign website, which is also far ahead of the competition.  I am still looking forward to a report on the online fundraising effort, as that is where the small e-donors flock who wnat to register their support early in the campaign.


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