President Barack Obama is headed home to Chicago this weekend for the family wedding of a close friend and adviser.
Republican Mitt Romney passed through last night to raise some campaign cash on the president’s home turf.
Romney raised more than $3.3 million. Speaking in a room at the upscale Public Chicago hotel, Romney said the president is in “over his head” when it comes to getting the U.S. economy restarted.
“I’m absolutely convinced that you are going to see an extraordinary resurgence of America’s economy, and it’s going to come roaring back with the right policies,” he told an audience of about 250 people who were snacking on appetizers and sipping wine, beer and cocktails.
The hotel gathering and a smaller dinner were expected to raise between $3.3 million and $3.5 million, according to Ron Gidwitz, one of the event’s organizers and a onetime Republican candidate for Illinois governor.
Romney spoke in the Pump Room, an updated version of the legendary restaurant and bar where celebrities in the era before airplane travel dined as they awaited their train connections in Chicago. The fundraiser took place less than 10 miles north of Obama’s home in Chicago’s Kenwood neighborhood.
Romney was flying out before Obama arrived, as the Republican prepares for the start of a multi-state bus tour this weekend and next week.
Obama and family are arriving for the wedding of the daughter of family friend and senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett.
Chicago has long been among Obama’s top fundraising hubs. So far this election season, Obama has raised $6.2 million from the Chicago metropolitan area, compared with $2.8 million for Romney, according to the Center for Responsive Politics — before last night.
Obama’s Chicago total is roughly equal to the amount he’s raised so far from the Los Angeles metropolitan area, another fundraising hotspot for the incumbent. Only the New York area has generated more for Obama, who attended more fundraising events there last night, including one at the home of actress Sarah Jessica Parker.
While Romney’s fundraising pace has increased since he secured the delegates needed for the Republican nomination, Obama’s re-election committee more than doubled his amount through April, taking in $222.3 million to $100.4 million. Obama’s re-election team had $115.2 million in the bank entering May, compared with $9.2 million for Romney.