WASHINGTON — Since first setting eyes on the White House, Mitt Romney and his backers have spent over $200 million — including $44.6 million of his fortune — on a seven-year quest for the Republican presidential nomination.
Now, with victories that re-establish him as the front-runner heading into Super Tuesday’s primaries, the former private-equity chief can credit much of his advantage to an expansive fundraising apparatus that has far outdistanced those of his rivals.
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, also can thank former business partners and friends on and around Wall Street who were among his earliest and biggest donors.
A look back shows the depth of Romney’s investment in trying to win the nation’s highest office, how his supporters circumvented federal campaign laws with huge, back-channel donations years before he declared his candidacy, and to whom he might owe favors if he wins.
In this, his second run for the presidency, Romney’s campaign has spent $54 million through Jan. 31, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. It has been shadowed by a pro-Romney “super” political action committee that has spent at least $32 million, including $12 million on broadcast ads in February, mainly to pummel GOP challenger Rick Santorum.