WASHINGTON — Presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty raised $4.2 million over the last three months, the campaign announced today, a number that is expected to be far outstripped by other major candidates in the race.
Mitt Romney, the race’s frontrunner, raised $10 million in one day in May, and is expected to announce a fundraising total of around $20 million. Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul are both known for their fundraising prowess (Bachmann raised a total of $2.2 million in the first fundraising quarter of the year, even before announcing her presidential run). And Jon Huntsman, who entered the race just last week, reportedly raised $4.1 million this quarter, though about half of that total came from Hunstman himself.
The campaign notes that Pawlenty has more cash-on-hand now than the winners of the 2008 Iowa caucuses (Mike Huckabee, $436,000) and New Hampshire primary (John McCain $3.2 million, with $1.8 million in debt) at this point in that race. But the paltry fundraising total is still not good news for a campaign that has had a fairly rough three weeks.
On June 13, Bachmann announced her presidential bid at a nationally televised debate, a move that would have completely overshadowed Pawlenty’s performance had he not punted on a significant opportunity to attack Romney’s health care reform record in Massachusetts. His unwillingness to go after Romney in front of a national audience became a much talked-about story, and it set back his fundraising ability, the Washington Post reports.
It also damaged him in public opinion polls, where his support has remained stagnant while Bachmann’s has surged. The most notable poll release the debate, the Des Moines Register poll, has Pawlenty at 6 percent; Bachmann is second, behind Romney, at 22 percent.
Pawlenty has tried to positioned himself as a viable alternative to Romney, but these light fundraising totals will likely raise questions about whether that is possible.
Pawlenty has a well-developed campaign and is focusing much of his attention on Iowa, where he released a television ad last week. He’ll hold three events there next week, and he’s expected to invest heavily in August’s Ames Straw Poll.
The fundraising total cover the period of April 1 through June 30 and candidates are to report them to the Federal Election Commission by July 15. Pawlenty announced his presidential exploratory committee in March and asked donors to wait until April to give money to the campaign so the fundraising totals would be greater.
Devin Henry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.