Major names on Wall Street and in the Republican establishment are buying into Mitt Romney's run for Senate, particularly as Republican lawmakers are looking to him as a future leader within a congressional caucus that is struggling to find its identity.
According to first-quarter filings, Romney has been quietly receiving the financial backing of some of the most powerful names and donors in Republican circles, such as former Goldman Sachs CEO and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. The early contributions are not necessarily big, but they indicate a coordinated effort to push the former Massachusetts governor and presidential nominee into the Senate with hopes that he will quickly climb his way up the leadership ranks.
GOP lawmakers who spoke to CNBC on the condition of anonymity say that Romney's name recognition and his ability to galvanize the rest of the party would make him an ideal candidate to work with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., within the upper echelon of the Senate's leadership ranks.
If Romney wins Utah race, his entrance into the Senate will come at a time where new leadership could be necessary to counter emboldened Democrats. The GOP is considered likely to hold on or add to its slim majority in the Senate, but Democrats are favored to regain control of the House. Republicans may seek a household name like Romney to galvanize the party and move forward after what many experts say could be a blue wave this fall.
"Every senator is important, but Mitt Romney will enter the chamber with a lot of respect from other senators, which is important if you want to get things done," said Alex Conant, former communications director for Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio's 2016 presidential campaign.