By Kim Dixon
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Texas Governor Rick Perry has hauled in at least $10 million for his presidential campaign, sources said on Monday, meeting his target in his first fundraising test as a candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
The Perry campaign had set a goal of pulling in $10 million for the quarter ending Friday September 30, after he jumped into the race about six weeks ago to win the nomination to run against Democratic President Barack Obama next year.
A campaign spokesman declined to comment, but at least three sources close to the campaign confirmed Perry had raised at least $10 million.
Though leading in most national polls, Perry has suffered setbacks in recent weeks including a poorly received debate performance and a weak showing in a Florida straw poll of activists on September 24.
Perry backers say those problems no doubt depressed his fundraising toward the end of the quarter, though it was unclear by how much. The bad news started to mount a week before the fundraising quarter ended.
In August supporters had been predicting that Perry would outraise former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, the presumed front-runner before Perry entered the fray. They have tempered expectations after the past few weeks.
Still, Perry is likely to have raised more money than nearly every other Republican candidate, keeping him in the race as a top-tier player.
"You have to reach a point of viability by showing you can raise the funds. Hopefully they can at least check that off now," said Barry Wynn, a former South Carolina Republican Party chairman who is helping Perry raise money.
Official reports to the Federal Elections Commission are not due until October 15.
Romney is believed to have raised between $10 million and $15 million, according to individuals "bundling" donations for him. Bundlers pledge to collect between $50,000 and $500,000 for a candidate.
Romney officials have said in recent days he expects to raise "considerably" less this quarter.
Romney raised the most of any Republican candidate in the second quarter, more than $18 million, before Perry jumped in.
Candidates typically see a dip in fundraising in the third quarter before an election year, owing to the summer break.
Republicans are building their war chests to take on Obama, who raised $86 million in the second quarter despite a sour economy and low approval ratings.
Obama can raise far larger sums because he has the Democratic National Committee at his disposal. Donors can give several times more to the DNC than to an individual campaign.
(Additional reporting by Karen Brooks)
(Editing by Xavier Briand)