The Money Metric: How GOP Candidates Are Doing

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Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Now that presidential campaign season is in full swing, there are any number of different measurements that reporters and voters can use to gauge who is trending up, who is just kidding themselves, and who is the guy or gal to beat — the ephemeral front-runner. Mostly these are polls, like last week's first-in-Iowa Des Moines Register poll that put Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann in the lead; or candidates' debates, like the one in New Hampshire last month where everyone played nice with front-runner Mitt Romney, even Tim Pawlenty who hemmed and hawed over the only interesting word he's ever spoken (and one of his own creation): Obamneycare. Well, there's another metric to go by and that's how much money each of the candidates can raise. Thursday was the deadline for candidates to file provisional second quarter fund-raising numbers with the FEC, with final numbers due July 15. Below we list how well each of the campaigns did.

Mitt Romeny: "less than" $20 million
Romney scored over half of this figure in just one night in May, when he and 800 volunteers worked the phones from the Las Vegas Convention Center, pulling in $10 million. Having raised over $100 million in 2008 — only behind eventual nominee John McCain — including $40-plus million he took from his own enormous net worth, Romney remains, like with everything else in this race so far, the man to beat.

Ron Paul: $4.5 million
Paul became famous in 2008 for his incredibly intense online following, which helped him raise $34.5 million last time around. The fact that he raised more than the $3 million he'd hoped for this quarter probably means some of that energy is still out there. Expect him to remain competitive in the money race leading into the primaries.

Tim Pawlenty: $4.2 million
For a brief time considered the party's greatest chance for a non-Romney candidate, Pawlenty has recently seen his poll numbers dipping and the money he raised, while respectable, is certainly not front-runner-in-waiting kind of money.

Jon Huntsman: $4.1 million
Barely two weeks in the race and Huntsman is within spitting distance of Pawlenty. To be fair, an unspecified proportion of that money is his own, with a lot more where that came from — his family has McDonald's Big Mac container money, after all. Now let's just see if Huntsman can pull his name recognition out of the thirties, and then maybe we'll take the size of his campaign coffers a bit more seriously.

Michele Bachmann: Unknown
The tea party princess's campaign did not reveal how much money had been raised since her (no big surprise there) announcement last week that she was seeking the presidency. But with almost $3 million still left over from her record-breaking 2010 Congressional race that she can transfer to her presidential campaign, Bachmann's off to a pretty solid start in the money primaries.

Herman Cain: $2.5 million
The former CEO of Godfather's Pizza is still considered a long shot by many, despite his sizeable gains in name recognition and favorability, so the $2.5 million he raised is nothing to sniffle at. Assuming he can keep up some of his momentum — and actually have specific answers to reporters' questions — he should be raking in more than that in coming quarters.

Rick Santorum: Unknown
No word yet, but we'll let you know as soon as we or anyone else hears a peep out of the Santorum campaign.

Newt Gingrich: Unknown
A few hours before the filing deadline, Gingrich's spokesman sent out an e-mail to supporters (and obtained by the Times) that ominously suggested that his fund-raising numbers, when released, would "play a major role in shaping the news narrative about the strength of Newt's campaign." So here's our guess at what the new narrative is going to look like: Paul Ryan budget gaffe, Tiffany's credit line, implosion, another Tiffany's credit line, broke.

The total raised so far — approaching $40 million across all candidates — should be a point of concern for Republicans, who are going up against President Obama's reelection campaign, which has hinted it plans to raise $1 billion. (That's right, with a b.) For this quarter alone, Obama's campaign had hoped for $60 million. And while we won't know for a few more days if they hit that number or not, it does seem clear that the GOP field is going to have to step up its money game.

G.O.P. Candidates' Fund-Raising Starts Slowly [NYT]
GOP candidates tally up second-quarter fundraising [WP]
Cain campaign: Raised nearly $2.5 million [MSNBC]