Strategists for Mitt Romney say he is prepared for a long, hard slog to the Republican presidential nomination if that's what it takes to win.
Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, has been in the top tier of GOP candidates for many months and leads in most opinion polls, although not by much. He consistently draws the support of about 20 percent of Republicans. Critics say it's a troubling sign for his campaign that Romney has been unable to expand his base, and his limited appeal derives in part from the impression that he flip-flops on issues too much.
But Romney insiders argue that things are actually going quite well. A senior Romney strategist points out that the former Massachusetts governor has been wise to stick with his disciplined, long-term strategy of attacking President Obama, avoiding mistakes, raising money, building a nationwide organization, and lining up endorsements and big donors. Meanwhile, his opponents discredit one another or self-destruct. Romney insiders point out that other candidates flash and fade, such as Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, but Romney has demonstrated staying power. "We kept our eye on the ball and we'll continue to do so," says the Romney strategist.
He notes that while Perry's campaign has reported raising more than $17 million in the latest financial quarter ending September 30, an impressive sum, the Texas governor will have problems maintaining that fundraising pace and expanding his donor pool. Many supporters won't be able to give much more and the flow of money from his home state will slow down, according to Romney loyalists.
Sources in Romney's campaign say the former governor raised about $12 million in the latest quarter, for a total of $30 million so far. "We're ahead in fund-raising and organization in all 50 states," notes the senior Romney adviser.