Romney Campaign Said to Raise Up to $14 Million in Quarter

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney anticipates taking in between $13 million and $14 million in the third quarter for his presidential campaign, according to a person close to the campaign.

The total is still being tallied for the period that ends today, and may vary depending on proceeds from New York fundraisers, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the campaign hasn’t authorized disclosure of figures.

Polls show Romney and Texas Governor Rick Perry are the frontrunners for the Republican presidential nomination, and the so-called money primary may provide momentum for one of their candidacies.

Ryan Williams, a Romney campaign spokesman, wouldn’t comment on specific fundraising estimates, saying only that officials expect to bring in “considerably less” than the $18 million haul from the second quarter.

Because Perry is the governor of a large state, a former Republican Governors Association chairman and a new candidate, “we suspect he will lead the Republican field in fundraising for this quarter,” Williams said in an e-mail.

Perry Goal

Perry will raise at least $10 million, according to a person close to the campaign; that would put his fundraising strength near parity with Romney in the third quarter. As Perry has slipped in polls after being attacked in back-to-back debates, it remains to be seen if his fundraising operation can grow in the next quarter.

Another person close to the campaign said Perry was able to raise the first $10 million fairly easily, much of it from his home state. The pace began to slow as questions surfaced about his positions, particularly on immigration, this person said. The two people spoke on condition of anonymity because the campaign hasn’t authorized release of fundraising information.

Perry backed a state law that provided discounted, in-state college tuition to children of illegal immigrants, a stance widely criticized by his opponents.

Steffen W. Schmidt, a political science professor at Iowa State University, said the pressure on Perry to produce a competitive fundraising sum is heightened by continued speculation about the presidential intentions of New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie.

‘Christie Fever’

“Perry needs to squash ‘Christie fever,’” he said. “It is a killer for Perry, that even with him in the race, the GOP is still looking. If I was a Republican fat cat, I would sit on my political money until the dust settles.”

Texas Representative Ron Paul, another Republican contender, raised more than $5 million in the period, said Campaign Chairman Jesse Benton in an interview. That tops the $4.5 million Paul brought in last quarter.

Herman Cain, a businessman who beat Perry in the Sept. 24 straw poll in Florida, today sent out a tweet declaring his “best fundraising week....ever! THANK YOU! Let’s finish Q3 strong!” Cain raised almost $2.5 million in the second quarter, which ended June 30. His campaign couldn’t be reached for comment.

Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota also sent out a fundraising appeal today, urging her supporters to send money to prove she’s a viable candidate.

Washington ‘Elite’

“The Washington ‘elite’ are chomping at the bit to see the numbers our campaign reports,” she wrote. “I need your support today more than ever.”

Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who has struggled with fundraising and in the polls, donated $500,000 to his campaign during the quarter. His campaign this week also shuttered its Orlando, Florida, headquarters to save money and invest more in New Hampshire. Huntsman has said a strong performance in New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary is critical to his presidential aspirations.

“New Hampshire’s always been our top priority,” said Tom Miller, Huntsman’s spokesman. “We need to be successful in New Hampshire to make sure we have a head of steam to compete successfully” elsewhere. The decision to leave Florida reflects “recent poll numbers showing movement in New Hampshire, and the fact that we wanted to reallocate our resources to take advantage of that,” he said.

All the Republicans will probably lag behind President Barack Obama, a Democrat. He raised $86 million for the combined total of his campaign and the Democratic National Committee in the second quarter. The campaign and party are targeting a combined goal of $55 million for the third quarter.

Obama’s campaign spokesman, Ben LaBolt, declined to comment on specific figures for the quarter.

Buffett Headliner

In a last push before tonight’s midnight deadline for the quarter, Obama is speaking at a campaign event at a private residence in Washington. Donors also will gather at a private event in New York tonight hosted by billionaire Warren Buffett, 81, the chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

The Buffett event will be held at the Four Seasons restaurant and will feature an economic discussion led by Austan Goolsbee, a former Obama economic adviser now at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. The event is sold out, with about 100 people expected to attend the $10,000-a-ticket session.

Romney has raised more than twice as much money from Wall Street as Obama, an edge gained in part by luring away at least 100 donors, mostly investors, who backed the president in 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

In 2008, Obama received $15 million from employees in the securities and investment industry, more than any other candidate, according to the center. Romney received $5 million. Some donors who gave to Obama during his 2008 race also gave to Romney or other Republicans.

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