Sen. Mitt Romney put his fundraising prowess to work on Thursday night by hosting an event to raise money for the Utah Republican Party.
Politico reports Romney has been working to boost the campaign coffers of both the Utah State GOP and several county Republican organizations as well. That's significant as the Utah Republican Party recently paid off thousands of dollars of lingering debt that had plagued the group for years.
A source close to Romney said the event was expected to raise more than $150,000 for the party.
On Thursday evening, he hosted a fundraiser for the Utah Republican Party, an organization that's been plagued by financial and organizational troubles. Within the state’s political circles, the event was considered particularly noteworthy because conservatives formerly involved in the state GOP apparatus vocally opposed Romney’s 2018 Senate bid.
Romney’s presence at the Salt Lake City dinner, held at the home of real estate executive Scott Keller, is designed to provide encouragement to mainstream Republicans who’ve long felt alienated from the state party. The Utah GOP is trying to rebuild itself following midterm elections that saw Republicans lose a congressional seat and a half-dozen state legislative seats.
“Having someone as well-known as Mitt Romney publicly supporting the Utah Republican Party’s fundraising efforts effectively sends a signal to former donors, the business community, and the entire Utah political establishment that ‘the water is warm,’ so to speak, and it’s safe to jump back in,” said state GOP Chairman Derek Brown.
After he became chairman earlier this year, Brown said, Romney “made it very clear to me that he was willing to play an active role in supporting the party.”
Romney's efforts on behalf of the party could pay big dividends as longtime donors had drifted away from the Utah GOP over the contentious fight over the state's dual-nominating path. A group of hardliners on the party's State Central Committee nearly bankrupted the organization during the legal battle. If Romney can bring those donors back into the fold, it will likely pay big dividends for the state's dominant political party.
The fundraiser was a joint fundraising effort between Romney's "Believe in America" PAC and the Utah GOP.