Where in RI does Romney beat Obama? Newport pocketbooksApril 11th, 2012 at 5:00 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
Could Newport be a Mitt Romney stronghold?
Electorally, probably not: John McCain won just 31% of City by the Sea voters in 2008. But financially, this year’s Republican frontrunner is a favorite there.
Romney, who’ll be in Warwick for a campaign rally tonight, has raised $41,650 in Newport’s tony 02840 zip code this election season. That’s more than double the $16,750 Obama has harvested there so far, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
No doubt a lot of Romney’s success in Newport can be attributed to one event, a fundraiser last July at the $5.4 million home of Les and Carol Ballard on Beacon Hill Road. It was co-hosted by former Gov. Don Carcieri and his wife, Sue, and tickets started at $500 a couple.
Les Ballard is president of Ballard Exploration Co., an oil-and-gas firm, while Carol is the daughter of late oil tycoon Eddie Chiles, who in 1989 sold the Texas Rangers to a group that included George W. Bush. Ballard donated $2,500 to Brendan Doherty last year, but he’s also given to Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse.
Rhode Island residents have donated $548,227 to presidential candidates so far this year, including $310,129 to Obama, $153,100 to Romney, $35,798 to Ron Paul and $14,700 to Rick Santorum. Herman Cain actually raised $8,250 in the state, more than Newt Gingrich’s $7,000.
Romney’s $153,100 this cycle has now surpassed the $118,034 he raised in Rhode Island in 2008, which that year trailed not only GOP nominee John McCain’s $305,509 but also Rudy Giuliani’s $122,903.
Newport’s 02840 ranks second among the most generous zip codes in Rhode Island in this year’s presidential election, behind only 02906 on Providence’s East Side, which has given $67,207 to Obama and $11,500 to Romney. Michelle Obama headlined a fundraiser in that neck of the woods last September.
Claiming the next three slots are 02903 in Providence, 02806 in Barrington and 02818 in East Greenwich. Obama leads Romney in all three, though the Republican is fairly close in Barrington, which has given $19,975 to Obama and $12,000 to Romney.
During the hard-fought 2008 election, Rhode Islanders donated $2.6 million to presidential candidates, led by Obama’s nearly $1.2 million haul. Hillary Clinton raised $560,309 in the state that year.
Here’s a dimly lit video of Romney speaking at his Newport fundraiser last year, posted by WHJJ-AM:
(photo: Romney campaign)