Flexing the Money Muscle: Candidates Disclose Fundraising Totals

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Here comes the money! Candidates Rick Perry and Mitt Romney have reported their earnings from the three-month fundraising quarter that ended last week.

Texas Republican and GOP-darling-turned-possible-liability Rick Perry is the first out of the gate, with a reported more than $17 million raised in his first seven weeks of candidacy. Perry is also receiving support from the Make Us Great Again super PAC, which plans to spend $55 million to support Perry's White House run. Together, this haul ensures that the Texan will remain a strong candidate, no matter how many offensively-named hunting camps he frequents.

Meanwhile Texas Libertarian dreamboat Ron Paul, for his part, also put up a strong showing, raising $8 million despite lacking the sorts of fundraising machines built into the major parties.

The only other GOP candidate expected to bring in amounts anywhere near these numbers now is Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. Romney, the presumed front-runner, brought in an impressive $18 million in his first three-months of fundraising.

But, wait, there’s more. Romney has his own super PAC super weapon–the Restore Our Future super PAC – and it raised $20 million from January through June. The super PAC also recently received a $1 million contribution from a former colleague of Romney’s.  He must have been some great co-worker.

With New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s announcement yesterday that he’s really, no, really  – and he means it this time – reeeallly not running, the race now mostly centers around Romney versus Perry, with odds on Romney. Large donors who were sitting out in the hopes of a Christie candidacy may now sink their money into one or the other of the leading candidates as well.

Whoever wins the primary will face off against the all-time champion of fundraising, President Barack Obama, who broke records during the 2008 primary and general elections by raising a whopping $750 million. The president is said to have set a combined goal of $55 million for the quarter with his campaign and the Democratic National Committee, and has his own Priorities USA Action super PAC (despite having spoken against anonymous campaign donations).

And as for the other candidates? Here’s what the AP says:

Of the other presidential contenders, businessman Herman Cain has shown strong grassroots support in recent weeks and could post higher numbers because of that. The others — including former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum — will likely lag far behind.