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The Money Chase

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The quarterly fundraising numbers are in and there are no surprises. The two top contenders for the GOP nomination for President, Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, collected nearly $32 million. (Perry $17.2 million, Romney $14.2 million).


The other six candidates collected a total of just over $15 million among them so you can see where the money is flowing.


Every campaign has been putting the best possible spin on its finance numbers.


Mitt Romney's campaign was careful to point out that while he came in second to Perry, they had raised $18 million in the previous quarter and it is an article of faith that the easy money comes in first, so his total of $32 million raised so far leaves his campaign with a very comfortable $14 million cash-on-hand.


I suspect the Romney fundraisers are reaching out to otherwise non-aligned Independents who have shown an affinity for Romney although they aren't polled and (for the most part) don't vote in GOP primaries. The Romney team should be using its "electability" pitch in asking Independents to help Romney get the GOP nomination as the Republican most likely to beat President Obama next fall.

Rick Perry's campaign properly pointed out he hasn't even been in this thing for the entire quarter and his having raised over $17 million shows the level of support Republican donors have for his campaign.

We do know that more than half Perry's money came from the donors in the State of Texas. As a very wise Texan told me when Perry first announced:


We are a Texas business. Perry is either going to be President of the United States or he's going to be Governor of Texas for the next three years. In either case, our name is going to be on that first finance report.


We also know that about $13.5 million of Perry's money (nearly 80 percent) has come from donors who gave $2,500 which is the maximum amount. They can't give again in this primary season so we can assume the Perry campaign has been ramping up its small-donor program - the folks who give more modest amounts, but can be hit up again and again.


As proof of that, Ron Paul raised about $4.8 million this quarter and has raised nearly $13 million so far this cycle leaving him with a very comfortable $3.7 million cash-on-hand. Nearly all of Paul's money comes from smaller donors and they will continue to help fund his campaign.


Michele Bachmann raised just shy of $4 million, but I am willing to bet almost all of that was raised in the 10 days surrounding her victory in the Iowa Straw Poll. Her campaign has collapsed and her fundraising curve has doubtless followed her polling numbers.


Herman Cain reported raising $2.8 million and his fund-raising curve is probably the mirror image of Michele Bachmann's. The vast majority of that came from small donors, but if his campaign profile continues over the next few weeks as it has over the past two, major donors may well decide to open their wallets.


Jon Huntsman raised about $2.25 million in the quarter but I suspect the vast majority of that was promised prior to his actually announcing, and the donors actually wrote their checks when there was a campaign to which they could legally donate. Huntsman has also loaned his campaign a similar amount but has only about $327,000 in the bank.

Bringing up the rear in fundraising are Newt Gingrich (about $800,00) and Rick Santorum (about $700,000). You could probably track the date of Newt's donations by looking at the dates of the debates in which Newt does very well. Newt is sitting on about $1.1 million in debts but he believes he is now swimming with the tide and expects fundraising to improve.

Before you let anyone convince you that this is over, remember Herman Cain was reportedly considering dropping out of the race just days before he won that straw poll in Florida a couple of weeks ago and now he is at, or near, the top of the polls.


The On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Two interesting candidate finance tracking sites, one from the Washington Post and one from the Federal Election Commission.


Also a Mullfoto which made me scratch my head and a Catchy Caption of the Day.


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