Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential front-runner and former Massachusetts governor, claims to have raised nearly $20 million for his campaign in the second quarter.
Romney's $20 million haul includes an impressive $10 million raised in a single day at a Las Vegas fundraiser in May.
Also, the formation of three super-PACs by a former Romney campaign official has some wondering if they will be used to help Romney. The super-PACs are in Iowa, Florida, and South Carolina – three states that will prove important to securing the nomination. Whether the super-PACs are designed to help Romney, however, is unclear.
Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty said that he raised $4.2 million, a disappointing showing for someone who expects to be the main challenger to Romney. On June 22, the Washington Post reported that several of Pawlenty's top staffers were working for little to no pay. Pawlenty continued to show confidence, however, when he announced that part of his second quarter earnings will be earmarked for the general election campaign.
Former Utah Governor and Ambassador to China John Huntsman said that he raised $4.1 million. Less than half of that was a donation that he personally made to his campaign. Under campaign finance law, individuals are not limited in how much they can donate to their own campaign.
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) showed an ability to raise large sums from small donations via the Internet in his 2008 presidential campaign. Paul declined to reveal what his total second quarter earnings were, but claims to have raised $4.5 million in the final days of the second quarter.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has been coming on strong in recent weeks. She is now tied with Romney for first place in Iowa. Bachmann has proven herself a strong fundraiser in previous campaigns, but her campaign officially kicked off only two days before the deadline. She declined to comment on what her second quarter report will show.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also declined to comment on what his fundraising numbers will show. His campaign has been struggling since most of his campaign staff recently resigned. In an email communication with the The Washington Post, a Gingrich campaign spokesman described their fundraising efforts as “a challenge.”
Exclusive Op-eds from the Presidential Campaigns
The total amount raised by all the candidates looks to be much smaller than in 2007, when the top three candidates alone (Romney, Sen. John McCain, and former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani) raised a combined $53 million in the second quarter. In conversations with the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza, Republican operatives said the weak numbers were due to a weak economy. Also, the race has gotten off to a slow start, and with so much uncertainty about who might enter the race, potential donors may be reluctant to commit to a candidate.
President Obama also expects a strong second quarter as he gears up for his 2012 re-election run. He announced a goal of $60 million. His Twitter account told followers on Friday morning that his campaign had 493,697 individual donors thus far.
Campaign cash is an important criterion for any candidate. Money alone does not, however, determine the outcome of an election. McCain showed this during his 2008 run for the White House. His campaign was broke before the first primary, but he went on to win the nomination.
The second quarter ended at midnight on June 30. The deadline for candidates to file their second quarter earnings reports with the Federal Election Commission is July 15.