Romney raises $15-20 million, leads Republican cash race

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 30, 2011 3:54 PM
Romney raises $15-20 million, leads Republican cash race

By Kim Dixon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is expected to report raising between $15 million and $20 million in campaign cash for the quarter, a campaign aide said on Friday, a sum that far outpaces rivals.

Romney's dominance in the money race stems from his near nonstop campaigning and fund-raising since he lost a presidential bid four year ago. In addition, several of his rivals have only just entered the race.

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, is the frontrunner in the Republican race to replace President Barack Obama in the 2012 election. He leads most polls of party rivals and has more than enough money to stay competitive.

"He is raising money far more quickly than he can spend effectively, especially in Iowa and New Hampshire where retail politics is important," said Georgetown University government professor Clyde Wilcox.

Still, Romney rivals like Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman will need to raise enough to remain competitive, if not keep up with Romney, he said.

"If you don't have enough money, volunteers and fund-raisers may start wandering," he said.

"Enough" may be a matter of surpassing expectations, he said.

The second quarter ends on Thursday and figures have not been officially released for the other campaigns.

Some outside experts had predicted Romney would raise between $20 million and $30 million, especially after a one-day haul of $10 million last month.

A senior Romney adviser said the totals are in line with what they planned, but also cited the fledgling economic recovery, which could enhance fund-raising.

Representative Michele Bachmann is seen as a proficient fund-raiser but there are doubts about Pawlenty, who has been struggling in the polls.

The campaign to re-elect Obama has a goal of raising $60 million in the quarter ending on Thursday.

In addition to Romney's official figures, a new so-called Super political action committee created by former Romney aides is said to have pulled in at least $10 million, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

These are a new form of political action committee created after a federal court decision last year allowed unlimited contributions from corporations and unions to independent political committees.

(Additional reporting by Steve Holland, editing by Philip Barbara)