Looks like the RNC has tired of waiting for other candidates to take the hint. RNC chair Reince Priebus and Mitt Romney have begun working this morning to merge their efforts and start working on the general election with Romney as the leader of the party:
Less than 24 hours after sweeping five primaries and declaring the Republican presidential nomination fight officially over, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee are moving quickly to coordinate their efforts.
“Governor Romney’s strong performance and delegate count at this stage of the primary process has made him our party’s presumptive nominee,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. “In order to maximize our efforts I have directed my staff at the RNC to open lines of communication with the Romney campaign.”
This involves some personnel moves from the Romney primary campaign to the RNC:
The leading edge of the synchronization will be four liaisons between the two organizations. Brian Jones, who has been serving as an adviser to Romney since late last year, will lead that effort. Kevin Madden, who served as the press secretary for Romney’s 2008 presidential bid, will advise the communications operation and serve as a DC-based television surrogate for the Romney/RNC effort. Ward Baker, a veteran Tennessee-based GOP strategist, will help coordinate the political and field teams. Ron Kaufman, a veteran RNC member, and Ben Ginsberg, who served as national counsel to Romney’s 2008 race, will also facilitate interaction between the two groups.
Priebus will remain in his position, and Romney won’t name a deputy chair, which presidential nominees will sometimes do to flex their muscle or keep tabs on the organization. Chris Cillizza writes that this is a vote of confidence in Priebus from Romney. And why not? Priebus has done a very good job as a turn-around specialist at the RNC, and perhaps only a fellow turn-around specialist like Romney can appreciate the effort and the improvements made from the Michael Steele era.
The new partnership will allow the Romney campaign to raise money in the same manner that the Obama campaign has done for the past year. Romney and Priebus will hold big-ticket joint fundraisers that will score eye-popping donation totals, presumably immediately. Romney and the GOP needed to get started on that as soon as possible; Obama has $100 million in the bank, even if the donations to his campaign trail his pace from 2008 rather significantly, while Romney has $10 million banked at the moment. The GOP has all summer to catch up, but the earlier reality sets in and they get started, the better off they are.
Update: Romney and the RNC have added at least 20 fundraising events through May, according to Politico:
Mitt Romney’s campaign has set a breathtaking schedule for finance events for him over the next month, according to a schedule obtained by POLITICO – with at least fifteen different cities put on his calendar between April 30 and the last day of May.
At least three of those stops are expected to be multi-event trips, simply listed on the schedule right now as “Florida” or “California,” without the type of event described next to it – indicating a number of fundraisers will be put on the schedule.
That will mean at least 20 events, in addition to keeping up with public campaign stops. And the fifteen different cities are in addition to the six fundraising events Romney is holding in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut this week. …
The schedule warns that the events are subject to change. But the pace of the fundraising is breakneck, as the campaign has moved to fill the coffers of the “Victory Fund” it’s set up jointly with the Republican National Committee and other local committees.
They’re not wasting any time.