Perry Leads GOP in Fundraising

Rick PerryTexas Gov. Rick Perry tapped his home-state base of deep-pocketed donors to leap ahead of the Republican field in fundraising during the third quarter. Mitt Romney, meanwhile, used his sizeable warchest to build an infrastructure for the campaign fight ahead, new finance reports show.

Romney, who collected $14.2 million in the July-to-September period, spent more than $12 million during the same period as the campaign paid salaries, hired direct-mail consultants and rented office space. Romney pumped more than $1 out of every $5 he spent during the quarter into New Hampshire, which is weighing a December vote for its first-in-the-nation primary.

Perry, by contrast, spent just $2 million of the $17.2 million he amassed after entering the race in mid-August.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and multi-millionaire making his second bid for the White House, “is in the best shape by far” of the Republicans hoping to oust President Obama, said Anthony Corrado, a campaign-finance expert at Colby College in Maine.

“He has the most extensive organization, and a substantial amount of free cash in hand, but he still has the ability to write checks for his own campaign,” Corrado said.

That financial advantage also gave him the ability to fly in relative comfort. Romney, who recently tweeted about flying on the budget airline Southwest, spent more than $233,000 on private jets, the campaign reports show.

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Source: Fredreka Schouten and Christopher Schnaars, USA TODAY

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