The Campaigns Begin To Release Their Financial Statements

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MANCHESTER AIRPORT WAITING FOR A FLIGHT -- So now we know why ex-MA Gov. Mitt Romney wrote himself a "nightmare" $5M check at the end of the second quarter: he spent more than five million more than he raised. Put together, Romney's burn through about 99% of his receipts.

Romney's campaign filed its second quarter report with the FEC today. Friday.

Romney aides insist that the campaign is on budget, and judging by the size of the check he wrote, Romney has promised to fill in the gap between receipts and expenses.

But raising money is tougher in the third quarter, and it will especially hard if Romney stays low in the national polls. It's unclear whether Romney can sustain the pace he's achieved: nearly $5M in television advertisements, $2.3M in salaries and insurance, and $1M in donor prospecting and list rental.

The $5M or so spent in television advertising appears to have paid dividends in the polls. Assuming that the campaign increases its ad buys by 50%, and assuming the cost of buying ad time in the early primary and caucus states increases, as it almost certainly will, Romney could win up spending $13-15M more on television ads by the end of the year if he elects to stay on the air through the Iowa caucuses.

Romney's expenditures also include nearly $690,000 for survey research. Two firms -- one run by Romney's microtargeter and the other by Romney's pollster -- were the beneficiary. These expenses mean that Romney's campaign has begun to model the Republican primary electorate. Watch microtargeting expenses to increase over the next few months.

Other large expenses for telephone persuasion efforts, mail and postage, and GOTV consultants show that Romney's campaign is making lots of voter contacts -- another reason why his poll numbers have risen. And looks matter: the campaign spent more than $170K this quarter for "staging."

Romney has a healthy $12.1M on hand.

Rudy Giuliani has much more. And his spending rivals Romney with two important exceptions. One is that Giuliani seems to be spend less on polls and microtargeting. And he's spent zero on television. In fact, he doesn't even have a media firm yet. Giuliani paid $25,000 for a "ballot access fee" in South Carolina, which is weird because the state will pay for South Carolina's primary in 2008. All the other Republicans have also paid the fee. It's weird because... it's kind of not fair to the candidates.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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