WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Businessman Herman Cain, rising in national polls, raised $2.8 million in the third quarter to finance his run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, far shy of his main rivals but an increase over his earlier fundraising efforts, his campaign said on Saturday.
Cain, a former CEO of Godfather's Pizza who has never held elective office, raised an additional $2 million after the reporting period ended on September 30, his campaign said. His campaign also reported $1.33 million cash on hand and no debt.
He entered the race as a long-shot but has picked up momentum in recent weeks, winning the September 24 Florida straw poll -- a test of strength of the Republican candidates -- and gaining news media coverage for his tax reform proposals.
Cain placed first in an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll among Republican candidates and second in a Reuters Ipsos poll this week.
His fundraising totals in the third quarter were far behind Texas Governor Rick Perry's $17 million and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's $14 million.
Cain had raised $2 million in the second quarter, among the lowest of the major Republican presidential aspirants.
"Mr. Cain's message is spreading and attracting supporters all across the country," Mark Block, Chief Operating Officer for Friends of Herman Cain Inc., said in a statement.
Cain's signature "9-9-9" tax proposal would create a flat 9 percent income, corporate and national sales tax rate.
His supporters, including Republicans aligned with the conservative Tea Party movement, support the plan for its commitment to lower taxes. Critics say the plan would benefit wealthy taxpayers at the expense of middle- and lower-income Americans.
In another development, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman's campaign reported having about $327,000 in cash on hand at the end of the third quarter, raising questions about his long-term viability in his long-shot run for the Republican nomination.
Huntsman, who served as U.S. ambassador to China under President Barack Obama before entering the race, has lent himself $2.24 million so far in his bid for the nomination.