The New York Times:
Newt Gingrich recently joined Gov. Rick Perry of Texas on a conference call with more than 50 “bundlers” who had powered Mr. Perry’s formidable campaign-cash machine.
Mr. Perry asked his top financial rainmakers to raise money for Mr. Gingrich, telling the group, according to one participant, that he fully supported the former House speaker.
But it seems unlikely that Mr. Gingrich will reap a financial windfall from wealthy donors for his cash-starved campaign, Perry supporters and Republican leaders said, even as Mr. Gingrich begins three days of fund-raising in California on Monday.
(...) “Unless your name is Mitt Romney, raising money in this political environment is like trying to hit a bullet with another bullet while riding a horse,” said Ron Nehring, a former chairman of the California Republican Party.
Roy Bailey, who was a national finance co-chairman for Mr. Perry, said most of the Texas governor’s wealthy supporters would hesitate to back Mr. Gingrich. “The problem is you want to feel the person you’re supporting has a really good chance of succeeding,” Mr. Bailey said. “I think bundlers are waiting to see who emerges to be the conservative choice. Is it going to be Gingrich or is it going to be Santorum? Santorum clearly has a lot of momentum right now.”
In California, Mr. Gingrich will attend small-scale events in homes, restaurants and country clubs, where he will seek checks of $500 to $2,500.
For $500, supporters can attend breakfast with Mr. Gingrich on Tuesday morning at a country club outside San Diego. (For $1,000, they can have their photograph taken with him.) That evening, Valentine’s Day, he will attend a cocktail reception at a private home in Fresno, Calif., where a $2,500 donation includes “a little Champagne, a photo op,” said Wendy Turner, the host.
Fund-raising experts say such supporters are midtier donors who seek to rub elbows and pose for a picture in exchange for checks. They have Mr. Gingrich’s attention just now because he has had little success with the top-tier bundlers who gather the maximum legal donations of $2,500 from networks of friends and business associates.
These are the “access” fund-raisers who want a connection to the candidate once he is in the White House, and they commit only to someone whose odds of becoming the nominee are good, Mr. Nehring said. “Everybody wants to be an ambassador,” he said. “You only get to be an ambassador if your guy wins.”
Mr. Gingrich has put little effort into building a network of fund-raisers, focusing instead on the debates. After his one primary victory to date, in South Carolina, the campaign announced that it had quickly raised $2 million with an Internet appeal. But that small-donor momentum has now shifted to Mr. Santorum, whose campaign said it raised $3 million in as many days after his trifecta of victories last week.