They've done it again.
The supporters who raised more than $4 million for Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul in November pulled in nearly $6 million for the 10-term Texas congressman on Sunday, according to the campaign. The haul fell short of their $10 million goal, but it is record-breaking nonetheless. If all the donations hold up when the campaign files quarterly papers with the Federal Elections Commission, it will be the biggest one-day online take by any campaign ... ever.
Ron Paul has seen multimillion-dollar fundraising hauls from "money bomb" stunts thrown by his supporters. We've dreamt up several humorous, historically themed fundraising efforts for some of the other candidates:
December 21: Back in 1620, the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. Mitt Romney could aim to raise $8 million in one day by pointing out that they were not technically illegal immigrants coming to one of Massachusetts' sanctuary cities. Oh, and they also chose to land in Massachusetts because he lowered the taxes there.
December 23: On this day in 1888, troubled artist Vincent van Gogh cut off his ear. Hillary promises to cut her husband off for the day and only let Bill go on television or campaign for her if supporters can pull in $8 million online. She also vows not to take credit for any of his achievements in the White House.
The supporters accomplished the feat through TeaParty07.com. While the Web site isn't connected with the Paul campaign, it directed more than 50,000 donors to Paul's Web site. The median pledge in Sunday's so-called "money bomb" was $50, according to Jesse Benton, the campaign's national press secretary.
"The central campaign here does the traditional bricklaying," Benton said, "but it's at the grass roots where these spontaneous fundraising stunts happen." In other words, the campaign sets up the fundraising system and the congressman's supporters, known in various corners of the Internet as "Freedom Fighters," get people to donate.
The man behind TeaParty07.com is 37-year-old Trevor Lyman, a music promoter who has organized previous fundraising stunts for Paul. On November 5, he helped raise $4.2 million for Paul with the Web site ThisNovember5th.com. Then, on November 30, he launched a second, daylong campaign to bring in $2.5 million through RudysReadingList.com. That campaign raked in $500,000 for Paul.
Lyman could not be reached for comment on Monday (December 17), but according to TeaParty07.com, he chose Sunday for this latest "money bomb" in order to commemorate the Boston Tea Party. In case you don't remember the details from history class, that's when, in 1773, American colonists, fed up with unfair taxes on their favorite beverage, tossed a boatload of tea into Boston Harbor.
"This December 16th 2007," a statement on TeaParty07.com reads, "American citizens will gather to express their support for ending the oppressive and unconstitutional inflation tax — which has enabled a flawed foreign policy, a costly war and the sacrificing of our liberties here at home."
Paul is running on a platform to lower taxes and end the war in Iraq, as well as abolish the IRS and the Federal Reserve.
There's no word on when the next "money bomb" will take place, or what the theme will be, but the campaign already has plans for all the money it has just raked in.
"We're substantially increasing our ground game in Iowa," Benton said, referencing the January 3 primary in that state. "We are buying more ads and hiring more staff in places like Florida, California and New York."
As for the folks behind TeaParty07.com, they're busy with another Paul project right now: flying a blimp across the Carolinas to raise awareness about Paul and his campaign. (Check out the details at RonPaulBlimp.com.)
"Nobody could say they expected this," Benton said about the unorthodox fundraising and promotional events.