Perry, Romney lead Republican presidential pack in funds
In politics, money talks when you are in the front of the pack, but walks when you bring up the rear.
"If you can't raise money, you can't become president," said Michael Genovese, a Loyola University political scientist. "Running for president is very expensive, and if a candidate cannot demonstrate that he/she can pass the fundraising test, they end up fading into the darkness."
Less than 10 weeks before the traditional kick-off of presidential primary season, campaign finance reports released during the weekend gave the first indication of which Republican presidential candidates might be able to marry poll numbers with fundraising power.
With $17 million, Texas Gov. Rick Perry led the Republican hopefuls just eight weeks after his late announcement. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney came in second, topping $14 million.
The reports included President Barack Obama's combined fundraising efforts with the Democratic Party of more than $70 million; the president brought in more than $42 million himself, about $10.6 million shy of the combined fundraising of all the Republican candidates.
"If the president loses next year, it's not going to be because he didn't raise enough money," said Kyle Kondik, a political analyst at the University of Virginia.
The advantage the president has is that he isn't opposed within his party, Genovese said. "So while the Republicans are feverishly spending their money, Obama's war chest is drawing interest in the bank."
Green Tree native Ron Paul, a congressman from Texas, raised $8.2 million and spent $7.5 million. Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, who owns a home in Penn Hills, reported he raised more than $700,000 in the third quarter but spent nearly $745,000.
The final tier of candidates shows larger debts and a deficit in fundraising. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich raised about $807,000 in this period and has more than $1 million in obligations. U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota raised $3.9 million and is $500,000 in debt. Former Utah Gov. Jon M. Huntsman raised more than $2.2 million, and then lent his campaign $2.25 million of his money but reported just over $300,000 cash on hand.
No campaign wants to be in debt, and poor fundraising could be what drives some candidates from the race, said Kondik.
"A political campaign is a business like any other -- and when debt is greater than revenue, it's hard to last for long," he said.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is paying down campaign debt from her unsuccessful Democratic primary campaign against Obama.
"Basically, she spent more than she raised in 2008, and so she still has debt," said Kondik. "The bills don't just go away at the end of a campaign; inevitably, some of the candidates this year will find themselves in her shoes."
The current Republican front-runner in recent polls, businessman and former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain, reported raising $2.8 million and about $1.3 million on hand. Kondik said Cain's surge didn't start until the end of the filing period, which would explain why his fundraising hasn't matched his newfound national popularity among voters.
Cain surprised his rivals in late September when he won the Republican presidential straw poll in Florida, a victory that thrust him forward in a few national polls. The latest Rasmussen Reports survey of likely voters showed him tied with Romney in the lead for the nomination. In a head-to-head with Obama, he leads with 43 percent to 41 percent, that poll found.
"The lower tier has much to reconsider, given their low fundraising numbers," said Catherine Wilson, a political science professor at Villanova University. "The fourth quarter will surely make adjustments here, if Cain's popularity continues to soar."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Roundup: Wealth gap largest on record, Pew study shows; McDonald’s in Japan limits orders of fries; more
- Starkey: Pederson had to go at Pitt
- West Mifflin soccer fields nearly done, but play will be delayed
- Chryst returns home, named football coach at Wisconsin
- West Mifflin man charged with risking catastrophe
- Philly DA says no affidavits claimed by AG Kane in bribery case existed
- Pederson’s 2nd tenure as the athletic director at Pitt comes to abrupt end
- Son charged in dismemberment death of mother, stepfather in Penn Hills
- Steelers notebook: Brown leads WRs in Pro Bowl voting, Bell 2nd at RB
- Connellsville Area High School Chamber Ensemble awaiting word on sing-off
- Steelers, young and old, thirst for opportunity to reach the postseason