Rhode Islanders Have Spent Over $1 Million on Presidential Race
Monday, September 03, 2012
Presidential campaign political contributions in Rhode Island have dipped sharply since 2008, with residents donating less than 35 percent of the total amount they donated four years ago, according to a review of federal campaign finance reports.
President Obama, who won Rhode Island with nearly 63 percent of the vote in 2008, still leads the way with $656,219 in individual campaign contributions while Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney has received $301,776.
Rhode Island ranks fifth-worst nationwide when it comes to contributing to Presidential campaigns, with only North Dakota ($464,920), South Dakota ($652,587) Alaska ($975,567) and Delaware ($1,001,611) donating less.
Economy/Obama Performance are Factors
Across the country, Obama has raked in $348.4 million while Romney has pulled in $193 million, but when Super PACs are figured in, the former Massachusetts Governor evens the race. Romney and the Republican Party also outraised Obama and the Democrats between May and July of this year.
Late last year, Quest Research pollster Victor Profughi predicted that the state of the economy and the Rhode Islanders’ increasing unhappiness with the President would likely hurt fundraising in the state. Obama raised more than $1.6 million in Rhode Island in 2008, well over four times the amount Republican candidate John McCain pulled in.
“As for the general lack of fund raising success this time around: first, the economy is no doubt a factor, then there is quite a bit of dissatisfaction with Obama's performance on the part of the progressives and I suspect that this will have an impact,” Profughi said at the time.
Obama’s job approval in the state was 58 percent as of Aug. 1, according to Gallup.
Romney Outpacing McCain
Romney, who is unlikely to become to the first Republican Presidential candidate to win Rhode Island since Ronald Reagan in 1984, is expected to raise significantly more than McCain did four years ago, mostly thanks to his time as Governor of the Bay State. He only needs roughly $50,000 more to top McCain’s efforts from 2008.
During the Republican primary, no other candidate came close to Romney in Rhode Island. Texas Congressman Ron Paul ($59,204) was the only other candidate to bring in more than $25,000.
“Rhode Island Republicans generally have gone for candidates from the region or who seem to have a good chance of winning,” Darrell West, Vice President and Director of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. said last year (before Romney became the official nominee). “Romney should do very well in the state because he is from New England and currently is seen as the GOP frontrunner. It is hard to see any of the other Republicans getting much money because their views are too extreme for many within the state.”
Chafee Supports Obama
Romney’s notable maximum donations have come from Jonathan Nelson of Providence Equity, former Congressman Ron Machtley and Providence lawyer Zachary Darrow.
Obama’s notable $2,500 donors include Governor Chafee, philanthropist John Carter, former Brown University President Ruth Simmons, Darrow and former Providence Mayor Joe Paolino.
Chafee, the Republican-turned-Independent who endorsed Obama in 2008, is slated to speak at the Democratic National Convention tomorrow night.
“I am honored to be attending the 2012 Democratic National Convention,” Chafee said. “President Obama has been a friend to Rhode Island, his policies have brought valuable benefits to the people of our state during historically difficult times, and I am proud to explain to the convention audience why I – a former Republican – and lots of people like me are supporting the President’s re-election.”
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