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Small donations fuel Bachmann campaign fund

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Fri, 15 Jul 2011 09:51 PM
Author: Reuters
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* ${esc.dollar}4.2 million in line with most rivals - except Romney

* Some expectations had been higher

* Bachmann has small donor, big network track record (Updates with numbers from Bachmann campaign)

By Kim Dixon

WASHINGTON, July 15 (Reuters) - Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann's campaign said on Friday it had more than ${esc.dollar}4.2 million in contributions at the end of the second quarter, much of it from small donors.

The Minnesota congresswoman's campaign said it had received more than 88,000 contributions, averaging about ${esc.dollar}48 each, and that it had more than ${esc.dollar}3.6 million cash in hand.

CBS News had reported that about ${esc.dollar}2 million of Bachmann's haul had been shifted from her congressional account, citing a Republican source close to Bachmann.

The campaign would not comment.

Bachmann, a favorite with the Tea Party movement who is conservative both fiscally and socially, is strongly opposed to gay marriage and abortion rights. Rising in the polls, she filed papers to enter the race on June 13 although speculation had swirled for months that she would run.

Her fundraising puts her on par with most other Republican hopefuls for the 2012 election with the notable exception of front-runner Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who has raised ${esc.dollar}18.25 million, according to campaign filings.

"Is it an overwhelming blow-away-the-field number? No," said Gregg Peppin, a former director of the Minnesota House Republican campaign committee. "But she didn't have to," given her nationwide network.

"She will be a contender in the financial sweepstakes."

DISAPPOINTING?

Bachmann raised ${esc.dollar}13.5 million -- more than all of her colleagues in the House of Representatives -- during the 2010 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Some analysts had speculated Bachmann would significantly top rivals who trail her in opinion polls, such as former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who raised ${esc.dollar}4.2 million in the quarter, or former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who reported ${esc.dollar}4.1 million, including some from his own pocket.

Republican consultant Mike Murphy said expectations had been too high for Bachmann.

"Candidates like Bachmann tend to raise most of their money online, and unlike traditional high dollar fundraising, which tends to start big then taper off ... online fundraising tends to grow over time at a steady rate," Murphy said.

Seventy-five percent of her political action committee's funds so far this year are from small donors, CRP said.

President Barack Obama's campaign warchest dwarfs that of any Republican. He raised ${esc.dollar}86 million in the second quarter when combined with fundraising by the Democratic National Committee. Obama's campaign alone raised ${esc.dollar}47 million.

Bachmann has emerged as a leading rival to Romney since she entered the race a few weeks ago. In a Reuters/Ipsos poll released this week Romney led her 40 percent to 23 percent in a head-to-head battle.

However, some surveys show her leading in Iowa, which kicks off the nominating battle and can give a candidate valuable momentum.

Candidates are required to report their second-quarter fundraising to federal regulators by midnight on Friday. (Additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Todd Eastham)

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