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Why Did Santorum Refuse RNC Offer?

As Alana noted earlier, Mitt Romney will be taking time out of his primary schedule to fundraise with and for the Republican National Committee (RNC). According to the RNC, this fundraising opportunity was offered to every candidate, however, Romney was the only one to accept the offer. The Wall Street Journal reported, “In a move that shows Republicans are coalescing around the party’s front-runner, Mitt Romney plans to begin raising money jointly with the Republican National Committee this week as both the candidate and the GOP brace for an expensive general-election fight against President Barack Obama.” This doesn’t seem to be the case, however, as the Republican group offered to do the same with Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul.

Why might Santorum (and for that matter Gingrich) have refused the opportunity to take up the RNC’s offer? Each candidate, when fundraising alone, is unable to raise more than $2,500 per donor for their primary and general election campaigns. Fundraising with the RNC means that individual donors can give up to $75,000 to not only the campaigns of specific candidates but also toward the RNC and the state-level parties in swing states. The caveat for the candidate fundraisers is this: the money raised in excess of the $2,500 goes only toward the eventual nominee. If Santorum or Gingrich took time out of their schedules to fundraise with and for the RNC and did not become the nominee, the money they raised goes to the nominee, not back to their campaigns to pay off outstanding debts or serve as a starting off point for a future run.

If Santorum or Gingrich believed they were going to clinch the nomination this time around, taking a few days out of their campaigning schedule to raise this amount of cash would be a no-brainer (it certainly was for Romney). The fact that Santorum and Gingrich turned down the opportunity means that in all likelihood, even they don’t believe they’ll be the nominee. They either don’t want Romney to get the cash they’ve raised or they believe their campaigns couldn’t survive even a day or two out of the news cycle to attend the fundraisers.

While one can’t fault Santorum or Gingrich for prioritizing their own campaigns while the race is still ongoing, their refusal to raise this kind of cash speaks volumes about where their campaigns see the future of this primary season going.