In TN Fundraising, Romney Leads in Money; Obama in Donors

When it comes to overall campaign contributions, Republican Mitt Romney holds a huge advantage over Democrat Barack Obama in Tennessee, reports Michael Collins. But in terms of individual donors, it’s Obama who is far out front.
Obama’s donors in East Tennessee tend to give much smaller contributions than Romney’s supporters do. The average donation to the Obama campaign is $108. Romney’s average is 10 times that — $1,085.
Statewide, the story is much the same: Obama has raised $1 million from 2,527 individuals. Romney has raised $1.5 million from 1,028 donors. The average donation for Obama in Tennessee is $164. For Romney, it’s $952.
The numbers indicate Obama is following the same fundraising strategy that he used during his first presidential campaign four years ago, said Bruce Oppenheimer, a political science professor at Vanderbilt University.
“The Obama campaign four years ago, and I assume this year as well, relied heavily on raising money from smaller contributions through Internet donations,” Oppenheimer said. “The reason they can do that is because a lot of the fixed costs that go into getting small donations are near zero on the Internet. You don’t have stamps. You don’t have postage. You don’t have direct mail costs. You can put in the credit card, charge it, and you get the money right away.”
Romney, on the other hand, has concentrated on big-ticket, fundraising events in which the goal is “to get people to max out their individual contributions,” Oppenheimer said. “That means going to those more affluent zip codes.”
The Romney team has focused on big-money events mostly out of necessity, said former Knoxville Vice Mayor Joe Bailey, the campaign’s regional chairman for East Tennessee.

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