4) The Republican National Committee plans to focus its resources on 13 states in particular for the presidential race, although the field could ultimately expand to 20 to 25 states. The top nine are states won by George W. Bush in 2004 and President Obama in 2008: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Indiana, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia. "The next four," as they are referred to internally, were chosen based on GOP performance in the 2010 midterms: Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. 3) Romney announced his exploratory committee in a subdued video without word of the announcement leaking in advance. Romney will spend the next six weeks crisscrossing the country, primarily in a drive to raise enough cash to separate himself from the prospective GOP field. Romney made no mention of health care in the video, even as today's the five year anniversary when Romney signed his signature health care reforms into law in Massachusetts. 2) Meanwhile, Obama will kick off his 2012 reelection campaign on Thursday in Chicago with two big-ticket fundraisers and a more moderately priced affair to benefit his campaign. 1) Senate candidates are beginning to release their fundraising numbers. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) raised over $877,000 in the first quarter of the year, an impressive showing as she looks to dissuade conservatives from mounting a primary challenge. She finished the quarter with more than $2 million cash on hand. Former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) raised more than $1.5 million during the first three months of the year, with $1.25 million cash on hand. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) also topped the million dollar mark, raising $1.3 million in the quarter. He now has banked $2.5 million as he prepares for a tough re-election. State Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) filed paperwork this week to prepare for a Senate candidacy. Meanwhile, former Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.) announced that she raised over $300,000 in 24 days and had over $281,000 cash on hand. Former Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz (R) announced Monday that he raised more than $1 million during the first quarter. Last week, former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert announced raising $1.1 million for the first month of his Senate campaign. Leppert has $2.6 million cash on hand, with $1.6 million of his money coming from personal loans.
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