WASHINGTON (AP) — The financial picture for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination race began coming into clearer focus with Friday’s deadline for candidates to report how much cash they have in the bank and how many bills they have to pay.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said he raised $4.5 million so far, with about $160,000 coming in before the current April-through-June period. He has about $1.4 million available for his primary contest and $600,000 more available if he captures the nomination.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who lost re-election in 2006, reported taking in $582,000, with less than $250,000 banked.

He spent heavily on fundraising assistance, including $71,900 to several different consultants. Among them were his finance director and a firm that specializes in Internet fundraising.

The federal election reports should offer an early glimpse into each candidate’s viability. While money doesn’t directly translate into votes, it does pay for crucial television ads, polling to measure whether a message is working and staff to run the mechanics of a national election.

The numbers are one of the first previews of the campaigns’ strength as they look to take on President Barack Obama’s well-funded re-election bid. On Wednesday, Obama’s team announced it had raised $86 million during the second quarter of the year for his campaign and the Democratic Party.

Republican front-runner Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, already had announced he raised more than $18 million in the past three months and his campaign has $12.6 million in the bank for the primary.

Georgia businessman Herman Cain has said he raised almost $2.5 million in the first weeks of his White House bid, but some of that came out of his own pocket. His report due Friday would detail how much the talk show host invested in his effort.

One eagerly awaited report was coming from former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, whose campaign fundraising team resigned as part of a larger staff exodus. He relied on large donors to fund a network of nonprofits, for-profit companies and think tanks that lent him a public platform since leaving Congress in 1999.

When Gingrich’s inner circle resigned over disagreements with the candidate, the then-hobbling campaign carried more than $1 million in red ink.

Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, a tea party favorite, was expected to report a strong fundraising quarter.

For Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, another tea party favorite who raised $13.5 million for her own campaign in the 2010 election, the numbers would preview her fundraising potential on a national scale.

Aides said former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman has collected $4.1 million, but as much as half of that could be money he’s put into the campaign himself.

Huntsman declared himself a candidate in June, but did not file his paperwork with the FEC until July. That means the first disclosures from the Huntsman camp will be on Oct. 15, when the July-through-September report is due.

On the race sidelines, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said her political action committee reported raising about $1.7 million during the first six months of the year and spending almost as much, about $1.6 million. The 2008 vice presidential pick has flirted with a White House run and has said she plans to make a decision later this summer.

Should she run, Palin could not simply shift SarahPAC’s $1.4 million in the bank into a presidential race.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (9)
  1. Citizen says:

    Another telling comment by the Dismal Political Economist:
    “Relative to the Republican candidates, the President raised a huge amount of money in the 2nd quarter of 2011 to support his 2012 re-election run. The sum of $86 million was more than all of the other Republicans combined. Because political writers have to write about something, (leaving several inches of blank space does not attract readers) this is heralded as news, when in fact it is rather meaningless.
    The 2012 Presidential race will feature well over $1 billion spent by each candidate either directly or on their behalf. In fact, no candidate on the Republican side for any office higher than Assistant City Treasurer of East Rockford, NM will want for lack of funding. Unlimited campaign finance is just about here, and will be here as soon as the Supreme Court can dispose of what little limitations remain.
    Mothers, don’t let your children grow up to be cowboys, let’em be campaign consultants instead.
    Hey, that has a nice beat and you can dance to it.”

  2. Rory says:

    The best way to combat all this nonsense is to use the mute button on your TV and to change the station on your radio. About 99% of political ads by both sides during an election season are false and inflammatory. Do your own research and make your own decisions.

    1. The real right says:

      i am repblkn i don need resrch to do me own i listen to tak radio it tel me wat to do i am marry to my sister

    2. meow says:

      Agreed with Rory … but … it does give me a good chuckle once in a while to watch the outlandish and grossly imflated ads all the way up toward the end when they start to run the NASTY gutter, mud slinging ads. Remember when Obama had ties to terrorists that the GOP tried to claim on TV ads? Um… yeah. Tell that to Osama Bin Laden. OH WAIT, he’s dead now.

  3. David J. Conklin says:

    >The sum of $86 million was more than all of the other Republicans combined. Because political writers have to write about something, (leaving several inches of blank space does not attract readers) this is heralded as news, when in fact it is rather meaningless.

    “more than all of the other Republicans combined” is meaningless?!? In which universe?!?

  4. Citizen says:

    @David. Meaningless in the context of the overall expenditures of about $1 billion per candidate. $86 million is chump change. You can see how far some of the GOP candidates have to go in money needed to run.

  5. rumor has it says:

    fret not Cit …. Bachmann will have unlimited resources thru the Bachmann Clinic. Imagine the amount when they start billing 24×7 for the 1,017,638 patients they have seen this week. Instead of taking it in from the Feds they are redirecting straight to her campaign coiffer. Direct deposit even from the US Treasury to her Christian Island account. go baby go lol

    1. GOPSUX says:

      Maybe the freedom of lightbulb lobby will contribute as well.

  6. Jim says:

    What’s scary is that in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling, none of this really matters. If Exxon, for example, decides it wants the Republican to win, the company can spend an unlimited amount of money to promote the candidate they want. (I realize the same is true for Democrats–I’m not complaining about either party in particular.)

    I think this ruling was wrong and a perversion of the founding fathers’ view on free speech. Free speech should be a right for people, not corporations.

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