By Reid Wilson - 10/05/09 04:20 PM EDT
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) is fundraising his way across the country, raising suspicions that the 2008 presidential contender is gearing up for another run.
Romney held fundraisers for his Free and Strong America political action committee in three states and the District of Columbia in September, and he will hold two more in Texas and Missouri this week, a spokesman confirmed to The Hill.
Romney has made his presence felt in Virginia and New Jersey, two states where Republicans believe they have the chance to pick up governor seats.
Romney hosted fundraisers for Virginia governor candidate Bob McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and state delegate candidate Barbara Comstock in September, and he will host an event for the Republican Governors Association and former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie (R) in New Jersey on Oct. 12.
Last month, Romney also held a fundraiser for Republicans running for the Georgia state House. In a western swing, he raised money for his PAC by surrounding himself with prominent Republicans; Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the man who beat Romney in the 2008 primary, hosted a fundraiser with Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) in the Copper State, while Gov. Gary Herbert (R) hosted Romney in Utah.
On Friday, Romney will join Gov. Dave Heineman (R) for the Nebraska Republican Party's Founder's Day celebration. Later this month, he has a fundraiser planned for House Republicans in Massachusetts, and he will raise money for ex-Rep. Rick Lazio (R), who is running for governor of New York.
Romney will also assist one of his early backers in the presidential contest, Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah). Bennett's reelection is in jeopardy thanks to the Beehive State's convention system, and several more conservative candidates are considering running against the three-term Republican. Romney will hold a fundraiser for Bennett on Oct. 26 in Boston.
Should the former Massachusetts governor decide to run for president a second time, his team from the 2008 race would be largely intact. Veterans of the first race have stayed close, and they frequently get together when their former boss is in town.
But elsewhere, that team spirit is generating some concern. State-level strategists question whether Romney has understood what went wrong during the first race, and they insist some problems need to be addressed.
"I like Romney," said one strategist from the 2008 campaign who has yet to sign up with a 2012 contender. "But a lot depends on what changes he makes to his team, and changes are absolutely necessary."