Mitt Romney’s $18.5 million in conributions in Q2 combined with a supportive Super PAC’s take of $12 million gives the former Massachusetts governor an enormous money edge as months of the summer doldrums descend upon the campaign. The next big event is an August 11 debate in Iowa, but with the Ames straw poll downgraded by the Romney decision not to participate, the campaign is entering a phase where most of the GOP candidates will struggle to make even a little news while Michele Bachmann gathers Tea Party strength and Mitt Romney enjoys frontrunner status and makes news via attacks on President Obama’s many incompetencies.
Texas Governor Rick Perry has the potential to upend the race by entering and challenging Bachmann for the Tea Party banner, but even that doesn’t promise to alter the basic Romney v. Not-Romney-To-Be-Named-Later nature of the race as a Perry candidacy simply puts him at or near the top of the list for the second spot in the finals.
Nothing is over, far from it, but like Obama’s disappointment, the Republican race is settling into a very concrete-like form that will be difficult to change because most people are making up their minds, a not surprising thing given the acceleration of politics driven by new media.
One factor could yet emerge which is the formation of a Super PAC explicitly dedicated to a different GOP candidate and capable of keeping up with the Romney-aligned “Restore Our Future.”
For a Republican to beat Obama, he or she will need allies in the independent PAC world, capable of joining with Crossroads GPS in a blow-for-blow stand-off with the unions money machines.
Restore our Future demonstrates that there is a group of deep pocketed donors willing to step up and support Romney through the post nomination barrage of negative ads from the president’s campaign and its allies. Michele Bachmann and all the other GOPers cannot themselves organize or direct such PACs, but their friends who are rooting for them have got to get in the field and display that sort of ability or expect a crucial segment of support to refuse to commit.
I could be very wrong about this as it only takes one donor to establish a Super-PAC equal to Restore Our Future, but it seems to me that only Governor Pawlenty —now up with a second television ad in Iowa— has the deep circle of deep pocketed friends capable of matching Restore Our Future, but no such vehicle has yet been launched.