Meet Annette Simmons; Woman Put $1 Million Toward Rick Santorum

Mar 21, 2012 1:26pm

For Rick Santorum, February was a great month, both politically and monetarily, according to financial reports disclosed to the FEC on Tuesday.

The Santorum campaign did not raise as much money as the Romney campaign in February, and looking at their overall amount raised cycle-to-date, the battle is still very much David vs. Goliath. However, compared to where the Santorum campaign was financially just a few months ago, February was a knock-out month.

Santorum reported raising $8.9 million in February. This number accounts for almost half of the campaign’s total of $15.5 million raised to date. (For comparison, the Romney campaign has raised a total of $74.2 million.)

The Red, White and Blue Fund, the super PAC supporting Santorum’s bid, increased their fundraising as well, though not by the same margins. In February they reported raising $2.9 million, up from $2.1 million raised in January.

Santorum’s super PAC has largely been funded by billionaire investor Foster Friess, who sometimes appears on the campaign trail besides Santorum. This month however, there was a new mega-donor.

Annette Simmons, an executive at the Contran Corp. in Dallas,  donated $1 million to the Red, White and Blue fund in  February. Not only was Simmons donation her first to the group, it was her first in general, she told ABC news.

“I don’t think I’ve ever given to anyone politically,” Simmons said, “but I was impressed with Santorum.”

Simmons said she was drawn to Santorum’s strong Christian and family values.

“I just knew that I wanted to help Santorum because he’s the kind of man I would want to be president,” she proclaimed.

After she made her generous donation, Santorum, accompanied by Karen and three of his children, paid Simmons a visit at her home, to personally thank her.

“He was very appreciative” Simmons explained “and a couple days later, when he was in Texas, he came over to my house and we had about an hour and a half visit. I liked him even more after that.”

Simmons, whose husband Harold is a Romney supporter and has donated $200,000 to Restore Our Future, FEC disclosures show, told ABC News she recently gave another $200,000 to the group. That money she explained, was mostly for help with ad buys in Louisiana and her state of Texas.

Romney’s fundraising numbers in February were also strong: The campaign raised $11.9 million, almost double the $6.4 million raised in January.  The super PAC supporting Romney continued to raise significant money as well- taking in $6.42 million, on par with the $6.6 million raised in January.

Almost half of the $6.42 million raised by Restore Our Future in February came from Texas homebuilder Bob Perry, who gave $3 million. Perry, a Republican mega-donor, is perhaps best known in the political realm as one of the leading financiers for the infamous “swift boat” campaign against John Kerry in 2004-a series of attacks which questioned Kerry’s military record in Vietnam.

Gingrich had a lackluster month in February- he raised $2.6 million- about half of his $5.5 million raised in January. His campaign debt decreased slightly- from $1.7 million to $1.5 million, but  still remains high.

Paul also saw a drop in fundraising from January; his campaign took in $3.3 million in February after raising $4.5 million the prior month.

 

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