Donors in New York, the A.T.M. for candidates everywhere, avoid the super PAC racket to start 2012

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Mitt Romney. (mittromney.com)
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With the exception of a small number of donors to Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, that January surge in super PAC money isn't coming from New York, according to new fund-raising reports released yesterday.

Restore Our Future, the super PAC backing Romney, who has enjoyed a virtual monopoly on Republican donors here, reported just under a million dollars from New York in January, thanks to a $500,000 contribution from Caxton Associates' Bruce Kovner, and another $250,000 from Tiger Management founder Julian Peterson. Robert C. Wetenhall, an investment banker who also owns a Canadian Football League team, also gave $150,000.

Restore Our Future raised a total of $6.6 million during the month.

But Romney's numbers, in particular, illustrate the degree to which super PACs are still an exclusive game. The relatively smaller donors who have flocked by the hundreds to Romney's fund-raisers here, often contributing the maximum $2,500 to his primary campaign, have yet to start donating any additional money to the Romney's super PAC. Only three New York donors gave less than six-figure sums, for a combined total of $35,300.

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That's still significantly more support than the other candidates, including Barack Obama, collected from New York in January.

The only donor in New York State to give to Rick Santorum's Red, White and Blue Fund was Kimber Manufacturing, a gun manufacturer based in Yonkers, which gave $100,000.

Newt Gingrich's Winning Our Future PAC, which has been heavily subsidized by Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, had just two New York donors, a Buffalo-based C.E.O. and a self-employed singer-songwriter, who gave insignificant amounts: a combined $800.

But even that modest sum beat the amount New York donors gave to President Obama's super PAC, Priorities USA Action, which collected just $59,000 in January, a mere $700 of which came from New York State, spread over three donations. 

Those numbers could rise this month. In early February, the president expressed his willingness to utilize the super PAC, and sanctioned some of his top officials to appear at fund-raisers on its behalf.