Posts Tagged ‘ROI’

WASHINGTON (AP) — A campaign fundraising report shows Republican presidential dropout Mitt Romney lent himself $7 million last month. That means Romney spent more than $42 million of his personal fortune on his failed campaign,” writes Jim Kuhnhenn in an Associated Press transmission titled Romney Lent His Campaign $7M in January

The former venture capitalist and Massachusetts governor finished January with nearly $9 million in the bank. But more than $3 million of those funds must be returned to donors because they were earmarked for the general election [...]

[...] “Before abandoning his bid to become president, Mitt Romney put in at least $42.3 million of his own money, a big chunk of the $97 million he spent on the campaign,” writes the entire staff of the Boston Globe in an article titled Romney spent $42.3m of own money; McCain reports raising $49m

His campaign reported to the Federal Election Commission yesterday that he loaned his campaign $6.95 million during January to reach that total.

The former Massachusetts governor’s total self-financing puts him ahead of Steve Forbes, the publisher who spent $38 million on his unsuccessful run for the GOP nomination in 1996, but shy of the $63.5 million that H. Ross Perot spent on his 1992 third-party presidential campaign.

Romney’s total loan also equates to about $167,000 for each of the 253 delegates he won before suspending his campaign. By suspending his bid, Romney, who made an estimated $250 million as a venture capitalist, can keep raising money to possibly pay himself back.

Romney also reported raising $9.7 million last month, bringing his campaign total to $63.6 million.

That total is appreciably more than that raised by John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee whom Romney endorsed last week. McCain received contributions totaling about $49 million and borrowed nearly $4 million more by the end of last month.

During January, McCain raised $11.7 million and borrowed $950,000, his campaign reported to the FEC. After he emerged as the front-runner, he raised nearly twice as much in January than during the previous three months combined [...]

Conclusion: Romney dominated the field with his own money and his fund raising prowess. Yet he still failed. More evidence of Romney’s preposterously low ROI for his every campaign dollar.

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dr. g.d.

“With Mitt Romney officially out of the race, it’s time for Republican strategist Alex Vogel to weigh in with his final Gramm-o-meter for the former Massachusetts governor,” writes Jonathan Weisman in Wapo blog burst for the The Trail titled Romney and the Gramm-o-meter

[...] Romney’s Super Tuesday finishes put his spending ratio well below Gramm’s 1996 record of $2.5 million. Vogel estimates that Romney finished his race having spent $309,439 per delegate.

By contrast, the campaigns of John McCain and Mike Huckabee, have been more efficient in their spending. Huckabee spent roughly $49, 649 per delegate; McCain’s spent $57,566 [...]

Yuh-huh.We harped on this string for months. But in his final hours as a candidate Romney was beginning however slowly to solve his ROI problem.

Too little, too late.

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dr. g.d.

[...] Romney vowed publicly to trudge on despite the series of disappointing losses; even after his wife, Ann, said that “The one thing that’s clear tonight is that nothing’s clear,” writes Thomas Burr of the Salt Lake Tribune in an article titled Despite few victories, Romney vows to campaign on

“I think she’s wrong; one thing that’s clear is this campaign is going on,” Romney told supporters in Boston. “I think there’s some people that thought it was all going to be done tonight, but it’s not done tonight.”

McCain, meanwhile, relished his new spot as the leader after many pundits had declared his candidacy dead last year.

“Tonight I think we must get used to the idea that we are the Republican Party frontrunner for the nomination of the president of the United States. And I really don’t mind that one bit,” McCain told a revved-up crowd in Arizona that included Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.

With Romney taking so few of the key states on Super Tuesday, political observers were doubting the former head of the 2002 Winter Olympics could turn around his campaign from the trouncing he sustained.

Romney may plan to continue on, but the GOP establishment likely will be calling on him to suspend his campaign, says Allan Lichtman, a professor of history at American University in Washington.

“There’s going to be a tremendous push in the Republican Party to unite behind the front-runner,” Lichtman says. McCain may not be the establishment’s dream nominee, but it’s better to seem unified and not fractured, Lichtman added.

Romney is “young” and can run again if he wants, Lichtman says, guessing he probably doesn’t want to burn a second chance at a run [...]

[...] But Romney still may soldier on, she adds, because he has tremendous financial resources.

“What keeps Romney in this game is money, his ability to fund the campaign, keep the lights on,” Duffy says. “It’s hard for him to make a case after today [to continue], but my guess is he may” [...]

[...] “Once again, conservatives have rejected Romney’s conviction-less campaign,” said Huckabee’s campaign manager, Chip Saltsman. “No amount of Mitt’s money is going to overcome what a growing number of Americans – and the Wall Street Journal – are seeing first hand: Mitt has no convictions at all” [...]

And what has Romney spent to arrive at this point?

[...] “By Republican strategist Alex Vogel’s calculation, Mitt Romney is giving Gramm a run for his money,” writes Jonathan Wiesman in a washingtonpost.com The Trail post titled Romney’s Expenses Per Delegate Top $1M

The former Massachusetts governor has spent $1.16 million per delegate, a rate that would cost him $1.33 billion to win the nomination.

By contrast, Mike Huckabee’s campaign has been the height of efficiency. Delegates haven’t yet been officially apportioned, but roughly speaking, each $1 million spent by Huckabee has won him 20 delegates [...]

All that spending, and all that re-inventing, yet voters still do not consider Romney a conservative:

[...] “This week, conservative commentators like Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, and Ann Coulter all rallied against John McCain, telling their listeners to back Mitt Romney,” writes the estimable John Dickerson in a slate.com article titled McCain Not Stopped; But Romney is not seen as a true conservative

Forget Huckabee, they’ve argued, a vote for him only ensures that the apostate McCain will win. On Tuesday, James Dobson, the religious broadcaster, blasted McCain: “I am convinced Senator McCain is not a conservative and, in fact, has gone out of his way to stick his thumb in the eyes of those who are. He has at times sounded more like a member of the other party.”

These loud voices of protest were thoroughly ignored. Conservatives did not rally to Mitt Romney. They rallied to Mike Huckabee, who won Georgia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Alabama. “A lot of people have tried to say that this is a two-man race,” he said after winning, “You know what? It is, and we’re in it.”

That was a stretch, but Huckabee could argue Romney was out of the running because in the ideological and geographic heart of the Republican Party, Romney could not make a scratch, just as he couldn’t in the South Carolina primary. In Arkansas, Tennessee, and Alabama, he didn’t even come in second. For Romney, the problem is not just that he couldn’t win the delegates, but that he could not make the sale to Republicans at the heart of his party. He has spent money, bought organization, and now has the firepower of revered conservative voices behind him, and he still can’t win.

This is the worst possible outcome for those who want party unity or to stop John McCain. While Romney was denied, McCain won New York, Oklahoma, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, and Missouri and racked up delegates, putting him closer to the nomination. The states at play in future contests are only going to get better for him and worse for Romney [...]

Yet evidence accumulates to suggest that Romney’s efforts to destroy the GOP’s chances in November have not been entirely without effect:

[...] Exit polls nevertheless show that McCain’s problems with conservatives run deep. He lost among conservatives in almost every state except Connecticut and New Jersey, where he split them evenly with Romney. McCain also lost conservatives even in the states he won. Conservatives went for Romney in New York and Illinois. “Hard to do well with conservatives when everyone with a microphone is beating hell out of us,” says a top McCain aide. While the conservative voices weren’t enough to stop McCain, or to elect their guy, tonight they were enough to bruise him [...]

Romney’s only purpose now is to keep driving Sen. McCain’s negatives up.

The emphasis is ours, all ours.

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dr. g.d.

“An interview with John McCutcheon, a state consultant for Mitt Romney, made clear why he is expected to win easily,” writes the estimable Michael Luo for the Caucus, The NYT Political blog, in a post titled Romney at the West Virginia Convention

[Credit: Kavon W. Nikrad]

“We have had the only organizational presence in West Virginia to speak of,” said John McCutcheon, a state consultant for Mr. Romney. “It’s all Romney all the time.”

Mr. McCutcheon, who has been working with Mr. Romney since 2006, when he had only a national political action committee. The campaign’s field director, Wendy McCuskey, was hired over the summer. In all, the campaign has three paid people in the state, along with hundreds of volunteers.

Early on, the campaign had believed West Virginia might be one of the early voting states before Feb. 5. Even after it became clear that would not happen, the campaign still poured out significant resources in the state.

Mr. McCutcheon described an ambitious county-by-county ground operation, complete with phone-banking, direct mail and radio advertisements, compared to only modest efforts made by all the other candidates.

“Any presence that has come in has been last minute and skeletal,” he said about the other campaigns [...]

Yet Romney’s investment was all for naught. Romney got out-maneuvered by his under-funded rivals. Romney’s response? A burst of rage in the form of a press release:

Campaign Manager Beth Myers On The West Virginia Convention

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Kevin Madden (857) 288-****

Boston, MA – Today, Romney for President Campaign Manager Beth Myers issued the following statement regarding the outcome of West Virginia’s Republican Party convention:

“Unfortunately, this is what Senator McCain’s inside Washington ways look like: he cut a backroom deal with the tax-and-spend candidate he thought could best stop Governor Romney’s campaign of conservative change.

“Governor Romney had enough respect for the Republican voters of West Virginia to make an appeal to them about the future of the party based on issues. This is why he led on today’s first ballot. Sadly, Senator McCain cut a Washington backroom deal in a way that once again underscores his legacy of working against Republicans who are interested in championing conservative policies and rebuilding the party.”

Yuh-huh. Note the anger. Note the name-calling. Note to Romney: This is the price you pay for alienating the other candidates. See:

how friend and foe alike make careful note of Romney’s duplicity—on Santorum’s endorsement of Willard Milton Romney, where we discuss the “I hate Romney club”

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dr. g.d.

[...] “As chairman of the Republican Governors Association in 2006, Mitt Romney crisscrossed the country to elect GOP governors and broke the group’s fundraising record by hauling in $20 million,” writes Charles Mahtesian in a politico.com article titled Most GOP govs shun Romney

Yet just two of the 16 governors he worked to elect then are supporting his presidential bid.

In fact, just three of the nation’s 22 Republican governors have endorsed him.

There are plenty of reasons that might explain the former Massachusetts governor’s surprisingly weak support among his former colleagues. But one of them stands out: He appears to have inadvertently alienated a good many of his fellow governors as RGA chairman.

“Right or wrong, the general impression was that he spent way too much time on himself and building his presidential organization,” said a top Republican strategist who has worked closely with the RGA in recent years. “I don’t think anyone ever questioned Romney’s commitment to the organization or the work he put in. They questioned his goals or his motives. Was it to elect Republican governors, or to tee up his presidential campaign?”

A campaign manager for an unsuccessful 2006 Republican gubernatorial campaign echoed the sentiments. “We definitely got the vibe from the staff that our state was never a national player when it came to the strategy that the RGA was putting together,” he said. “Everything they were telling me was about Michigan. They were dumping everything into Michigan.”

For Romney, his inability to win over the governors he worked closest with has proven costly. On the eve of Tuesday’s crucial primary in Florida, Gov. Charlie Crist announced his support for John McCain — despite the fact that Romney, as chairman of the RGA, had greenlighted a $1 million check to Crist’s campaign in 2006.

McCain won Florida by 36 percent to 31 percent over Romney. And the exit polls found that 42 percent of the voters said the popular governor’s endorsement was very important or somewhat important.

On Thursday, two more big-state governors who were on the 2006 ballot, Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Rick Perry of Texas, lined up behind McCain. Schwarzenegger’s decision came just days before California Republicans vote in this Tuesday’s primary. Perry switched to McCain after his first endorsed candidate, Rudy Giuliani, ended his campaign.

Altogether, six of the 16 Republican governors elected or reelected in 2006 are backing McCain. South Dakota’s Michael Rounds is supporting Mike Huckabee. Nebraska’s David Heineman and Rhode Island’s Donald Carcieri are behind Romney. But the rest of the class is sitting it out, having declined to endorse anyone.

One reason, said a Republican consultant familiar with the thinking behind some of the governors’ decisions, is that Romney rubbed some governors the wrong way during his tenure at the RGA.

“Everything seemed to have strings attached to it,” the consultant said. “If they were going to make a donation, they wanted a quid pro quo like an endorsement or a donor list or a volunteer program. There’s no interest like self-interest in politics. So when [governors] think their political lives are in a do-or-die situation, that’s not the time to offer help with strings attached” [...]

Ed Kilgore of the Democratic Strategist comments on Romney’s failure to recruit support from Republican governors:

[...] Mitt has a total of three governors on his endorsement list, none of them exactly household names: Heineman of NE, Carcieri of RI, and Blunt of MO (who’s retiring this year). McCain has six, including such biggies as Ah-nold of CA, Crist of FL, and Perry of TX. True, the other former governor in the race, Mike Huckabee, has just one: Rounds of SD. But given Mitt’s money, organization, and recently acquired conservative-movement street cred, his poor standing among governors is surprising. Hell, he hasn’t even been the beneficiary of the obligatory David Broder column about the superior qualifications of governors for the White House [...]

[...] As Barack Obama so aptly said of Romney during last week’s Democratic presidential debate, for a guy with such a rep as an entrepreneurial whiz, Mitt’s had an exceptionally lousy return-on-investment rate for the money and preparation he’s devoted to this campaign (though not as lousy as Rudy Giuliani, who spent $50 million to win exactly one delegate). His proselytizing work, financial and otherwise, among Republican govenors is another case in point [...]

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dr. g.d.

“Mitt Romney poured twice as much of his own money into his campaign than he received from all outside donors combined in the final months of last year, according to new campaign finance reports,” reports Elana Schor in a http://www.guardian.co.uk release titled New finance reports show Romney’s fundraising fell short

Romney, scrambling to knock John McCain from the frontrunner’s pedestal in the Republican presidential race, spent $18m from his personal fortune during the fourth quarter of 2007.His contributions from other sources during that period totaled $9.1m, as listed in financial records that all campaigns were required to release by today [...]

Team Romney itself attempts to mitigate by attenuation their crashing contributions, and increasing use of Romney’s vast personal fortune, by framing their ongoing financial disaster, and fantastically low ROI for their every campaign dollar, in a larger context:

BOSTON, Jan 31, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ — Today, Romney for President announced it reported over $27 million in total receipts for the Fourth Quarter, ending December 31, 2007. The Campaign again opted to raise no general election funds and reported $9 million in primary contributions. The total receipts include Governor Romney’s loan of $18 million.

For the entire year, Romney for President had total receipts of $90 million. In the past month, Governor Romney’s message of conservative change in Washington has resonated with people across this country. Governor Romney has won three states, placed a strong second in another three and had a strong showing in South Carolina [...]

Here is the problem for Team Romney: the larger context that Team Romney wants you to consider only casts in sharper relief

(a) just how much the Romneys have spent for so little, and how little Romney’s competitors have spent for so much

-and-

(b) just how drastically Romney’s receipts have declined relative to his spending—hence, Romney’s self-financing.

Tommy Oliver of race42008.com, however, points out that Romney has “tie[d] Fred Thompson for 3rd place this quarter in contributions.”

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dr. g.d.

“Mitt Romney’s had an 8 to 1 television ad advantage in Florida … “ writes Marc Ambinder in a theatlantic.com blog burst titled Romney’s Major Florida Advantage

… part of the reason why he’s made the competitive. Heck, most of the reason he’s made the race competitive has been his ads.

According to Neilsen, he’s run 4,475 ads compared to John McCain’s 470 through 1/22.

McCain did not run a single ad until January; Romney ran more ads in September than McCain has run to date [...]

8 to 1 advantage in television advertising. Yet Romney is deadlocked with Sen. McCain. Yet more evidence of Romney’s outrageously low ROI for his every campaign dollar. Yet more evidence that Romney’s funding levels are not a reliable indicator of his fitness as a candidate.

Also see:

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dr. g.d.

“‘Tim Russert said on MSNBC today that Mitt Romney ‘could buy the (GOP) nomination,'” writes Doug Perry in an Elections blog post for the Oregonian titled Romney Trying to ‘Buy’ Nomination While Clinton Turns to Delegate-Free Sunshine State

How? He’s got the money and John McCain doesn’t. And because, unlike the weeks of retail politics required of candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire, Florida and Super-Duper Tuesday are largely about TV ads.

This all bodes well for the former Massachusetts governor, who is spending millions of his own dollars on this presidential quest. On the stump and at coffeeklatsches, Romney is clearly a robot. A likeable one, sure, but who can trust robots? [...]

We discuss and criticize the Russert “Romney can now buy the nomination” fixed point here:

Cox: “Romney has been accused of trying—though often failing—to buy elections—But Florida is the first state money really can buy.”

The Russert’s “Romney can now buy the nomination” fixed point is confirmed by Romney’s hugely expensive loss in Louisiana, a contest where F2F and retail politics were decisive (a contest that Romney could not buy), and a contest in which Romney spent the most to get the least ROI.

[...] In addition to the uncommitted delegates and McCain and Paul supporters, Governor Mitt Romney appears to have won a handful of state convention delegates,” writes the shameless Romney sycophant Jim Geraghty in an NRO Campaign Spot post titled Louisiana’s Results, Clarified

“Governor Romney and his team have worked hard for over a year in Louisiana to build a strong organization,” Villere said. “The Governor has been to Louisiana more than any other GOP candidate, including one trip specifically to appear at a state party fundraising dinner,” he said. “Governor Romney has shown a commitment to Louisiana that is second to none and the strong support he has here is an indication that Louisiana Republicans are excited about his candidacy,” Villere said [...]

Our conclusion: The other candidates had until now to take out Romney. They failed.

We had predicted

(a) that the other candidates would organize around regional strongholds and contest single states

–and–

(b) that the other candidates would concert themselves against Romney

(a) and (b) raised the costs of Romney’s operations tremendously. But the other candidates could never concert or coordinate their efforts against Romney with the intensity or consistency necessary to stop him.

The task of stopping Romney now passes to the Democrats.

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dr. g.d.

According to the non-partisan Michigan Campaign Finance Network, Romney spent $2 million in an ad campaign lasting for about the past month, compared to McCain’s $744,000 over the last ten days, and Huckabee’s $484,000 in the past week,” writes Eric Kleefield in a TPM ElectionCentral.com post titled Analysis: Romney Outspent Michigan Competitors In A Big Way

Romney spends more on paid media in MI than either of his principal rivals combined. Yet Romney ekes out a narrow victory in a state that he calls his own. Yet more evidence of Romney’s risibly low ROI for his every campaign dollar.

But the real cost of Romney’s MI campaign is the check that he issued that can never be cashed. That check is Romney’s super-preposterous, atavistic promise to nationalize the US automobile industry. And it is a cost that Romney will never have to pay. That bill goes to the US taxpayer.

candidate endorsed by the National Review, Romney, suddenly veers hard left, argues that Washington must subsidize, become “partner” with, US automobile industry

After humiliating defeats in Iowa and New Hampshire, Romney in Michigan finally develops a winning formula. It is a formula consistent with Romney’s risibly low ROI as it allows the hapless candidate to offload his astronomical costs on others. It is simply this: political spoil in its most primitive form. It takes this shape: Promise key sectors of the economy unlimited subsidies from the public treasury.

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dr. g.d.

“Imagine if John McCain had narrowly lost to Mitt Romney in New Hampshire last night, and, when you down broke down the results, it was clear that the voters most concerned about the war in Iraq and terrorism went heavily for Romney—plus thought he would make a better commander in chief,” writes James Pethokoukis in a USNews.com blog burst titled Struggling Romney Needs an ‘Oprah Moment’ to Win

That would kind of kill McCain’s whole rationale for running, don’tcha think?

Well, that is pretty much what did happen, except in reverse. Voters who were most concerned about the economy went strongly—41 to 21 percent—for McCain over Romney, the multimillionaire venture capitalist. The Wall Street legend. The guy with the M.B.A. The guy who turned around the Salt Lake City Olympics. The guy who says, “I know how the economy works.” Even worse, Romney lost to a fellow who has admitted in the past that economic policy is not his strong suit and that he might need more of an expert as his veep if nominated.

See, the problem with Romney isn’t necessarily that voters don’t like his ideas—such as cutting corporate taxes or eliminating investment taxes for middle-class voters. It’s that voters don’t think he understands their problems. Until that hurdle is overcome, ideas don’t matter.

You have to do politics before you can do policy [...]

We concur. The struggle for NH has entered its archival phase. As we wrote before of Iowa, this is when the political community and various media dispute, interpret, or redact he outcomes of the contest.

Team Romney has failed at every task it set for itself. It failed to consolidate the social-conservative base as evidenced by the exit polling from IA and NH. It crucially failed to return clear decisions for Romney in IA and NH. Further, Romney massively-titanically overspent and received precious little in return. How much? Upwards of US$20 million of his own money on top of the US$80 million that he raised, but no one really knows. Tellingly, Team Romney isn’t saying.

Romney now leads in delegates, but by one estimate Romney has spent almost US$1 million dollars per delegate—so the question then becomes, given this preposterously low ROI, just how sustainable is the Romney tribe’s campaign?

This is also when a new discursive front opens up against Romney’s flank as

(a) pressure for Romney to withdraw begins to develop

-and-

(b) doubt, dissensus, and discord breakout within Romney’s own ranks.

To address (a) Romney has radically scaled back his operations, particularly his massive and massively ineffective media buys. To address (b) Romney has issued internal memos and issued promises to major financial backers.

“BOSTON (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has decided to pull his advertising from South Carolina, where he was hoping to take on Mike Huckabee and John McCain, and from Florida, where Rudy Giuliani has been spending time and money,” write Jim Kuhnenn and Glen Johnson in an AP release titled Romney Pulls Ads in SC, Fla.

“We feel the best strategy is to focus our paid messaging in Michigan,” Romney spokesman Kevin Madden said Wednesday.

The decision comes on the heels of back-to-back second-place finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire for the former Massachusetts governor. Romney, a multimillionaire who had used some of his own cash, had invested heavily in both states, counting on the two to give him the momentum toward the nomination.

Earlier on Wednesday, Romney had assured his top financial backers that he will win the upcoming Michigan primary, as he and his staff worked to soothe supporters unsettled by his losses in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.

“It’s just getting started,” the presidential contender told hundreds of supporters gathered at a convention center for a followup to the “National Call Day” that raised an unprecedented $6.5 million a year ago

He promised to carry on to Michigan, which votes Jan. 15, as well as Nevada and South Carolina, which vote Jan. 19.

The public spectacle, a rarity for the normally tightly controlled Romney political operation, included appeals for calm from a top financial backer, eBay CEO Meg Whitman, and a top political supporter, former Sen. Jim Talent of Missouri [...]

To assuage his paid staff and hirelings in field, Romney’s strategist Alex Gage issued one of his infamous “internal memos.”

Gage’s argument: Despite Romney’s losses and setbacks, “the Republican race remains wide open.” Talking points include:

  • Gov. Romney’s message of change generated momentum in New Hampshire.
  • Gov. Romney is the best candidate in the Republican field to match up against the Democrats in the fall.
  • No other candidate is competitive in as many states as Gov. Romney.
  • Gov. Romney has a clear path to victory moving forward.

That the Republican race remains “wide open” is true on its face. The other points in support of a continued Romney candidacy are false or simply meaningless until Romney solves his ROI problem, especially as the campaign transitions to a far more long-term, slow-accumulation-of-delegates strategy. Did e.g. Romney’s message of change generate momentum? No. Or: even if the answer is yes, the outcome of the contest indicates that it was not enough momentum. And how much did Romney spend per day in NH to promulgate his non-momentum message?

Sargent: “[Grrrr-Romney] was spending $100,000 a week through October, and he’s now upped the ante to $200,000 a week [in NH]”

Does e.g. Romney have a clear path to victory? Maybe. Perhaps. But at his current spending levels it he would have to blow his entire fortune to pursue it.

What Romney needs, and does not have, is a message that connects with people on the ground—a narrative, a story, something, anything. A successful message could resolve or at least ease his ROI problem. As Pethokoukis argues, what Romney needs is an Oprah moment.

Only Romney needs more than a moment. And Romney’s own moment may have already passed.

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dr. g.d.





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