Romney Spends Big Bucks on Media Buys, Contact With Voters

Rainier Ehrhardt/AP Photo

NOVI, Mich. - Mitt Romney raked in an impressive $6.5 million during the month of January, but public records show that the campaign has only a fraction of what it did at the start of the year still left in the bank after a month littered with expensive primaries.

Romney began January with more than $19.9 million in cash on hand, but by the close of business on Jan. 31 was down to $7.7 million, having spent more than $18 million, according to financial disclosure forms made public Monday. Romney has still not given any of his personal fortune - estimated to be anywhere between $190 million and $250 million - to his campaign, and the campaign has no debt.

But January held four of the major primaries - Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida - and the cost that comes with running a campaign in four major states is evident in Romney's financial disclosure forms, which were posted online on Monday.

Romney won in both New Hampshire and Florida, and a review of the financial disclosure forms by ABC News reveal that much of the money spent over the course of the month was spent on reaching or communicating with voters - at a final price tag of more than $10 million.

Placed media set the Romney campaign back more than $8 million in January alone, with online advertising costing $755,000. The campaign spent more than $600,000 on direct mail, $494,000 on polling and more than $14,000 on robocalls and telemarketing.

The money spent on placed media included items in New Hampshire newspapers the Nashua Telegraph and The Union Leader, the South Carolina paper The State, and The Villages Daily Sun, the newspaper at the ritzy retirement community known as The Villages near Orlando, Fla.

The bulk of the media work was done by American Rambler Productions, according to the public records, which includes some of Romney's most senior advisors, including Stuart Stevens, Russ Schriefer and Eric Ferhnstrom.

Romney's National Finance Chair Spencer Zwick said in an e-mail statement announcing the month's fundraising that the campaign "exceeded" its goals.

"We have exceeded our fundraising goals and are on track with spending plans," Zwick said. "We are the only campaign who has the organization and resources to go the distance of a long primary process. We know there is a long road ahead and we will remain steady."

By comparison, despite his high burn rate Romney still out-raised his GOP counterparts. According to public records, former Speaker Newt Gingrich raised $5.59 million in January and spent more than 5.91 million, leaving him with $1.79 million on hand and $1.73 in debt. Former Sen. Rick Santorum raised $4.51 million, spent $3.32 million and has $1.47 million with no debt. Ron Paul raised $4.48 million, spent $5.23 million and has $1.65 million on hand with no debt.