With the first presidential primaries still more than half a year away, Ohioans have nevertheless donated $58,000 to SarahPAC,Gov. Palin's political action committe, and $50,000 to Mitt Romney's Free and Strong America PAC, according to Jessica Wehrman of the Middletown Journal's Washington Bureau:
Ohio, long a bellwether in presidential politics, isn’t necessarily considered a must-win for Republican primary candidates.Gov. Romney's 2008 presidential campaign acquired a reputation as a money-raising machine, but the fact that Gov. Palin's leadership PAC raised more money than his is significant. She has not yet even announced her candidacy, while Romney is an announced candidate for the GOP presidential nomination.
But the enthusiasm a candidate musters in the Buckeye state — including financial contributions — can be indicative of how they’ll do in the general election.
“Ohio’s always going to be a focus of presidential elections,” said Dave Levinthal, a spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics, which collects and analyzes data about political fundraising. “If one candidate is doing particularly well there, that could to some degree foreshadow their success later.”
Ohio money is important, too.
Before presidential candidates launch formal campaigns, they raise money through leadership PACs — political action committees that politicians use for indirect sponsoring of a candidacy. The funds can be used for travel, political consulting fees or polling.
Levinthal calls those PACs a “barometer” of early support.
Later, Ohio can be expected to be a significant donor to campaign coffers.
In 2008, presidential campaign donations from Ohio totaled nearly $16 million.
Palin has long cast a shadow on the Republican field, though she has not declared her candidacy. Unless she announces she is not running, and maybe even after that, she will remain a factor.