GOP cash: Who's flush, who's strapped?

Republican presidential candidates from left, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, former Pennslyvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn, businessman Herman Cain and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman gather prior to a debate, Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
John Raoux

WASHINGTON - With just over a year left in the race for the White House, campaign finance reports released Saturday offered the first major picture into the haves and the have-nots among the Republican presidential candidates.

Two of the top Republican contenders, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, have brought in more than $30 million combined in the last quarter. Meanwhile, candidates like former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and businessman Herman Cain have raised significantly less than that.

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The financial reports detail how flush the GOP candidates are with cash — or how nearly broke they are — heading into the final weeks before contests in key primary states.

Romney has $14.7 million cash on hand, according to his FEC report filed Friday. Perry reported having $15.1 million.

Michele Bachmann's campaign team announced that the Minnesota congresswoman raised $4.1 million, with a total cash on hand amount of $1.5 million.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's presidential bid is more than $1.1 million in debt. The Georgia Republican on Saturday said he had about $350,000 in the bank and brought in more than $800,000 during the last three months. The presidential contender says the average donation was $76.

Reports on two of the biggest money-raisers so far — Romney and President Barack Obama — reveal millions in contributions from party devotees and small-dollar donors alike.

At the same time, reports filed late Friday offered a mixed picture of the campaign field, with Obama raising more than $70 million between his campaign and the Democratic Party. Some candidates are saddled with debt, such as former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and former candidate Tim Pawlenty, who both owe hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Jon Huntsman campaign nearly broke

Huntsman has struggled to gain traction in the Republican contest but has started to make some gains in New Hampshire, though a Magellan Strategies survey out Friday still had him in the single digits there. The former governor could get a boost from "Our Destiny PAC," the pro-Huntsman PAC founded by a Huntsman Corporation executive that is poised to potentially run advertising on his behalf. The PAC can raise unlimited funds to support Huntsman's campaign, and could attract millions from Huntsman's wealthy father and other allies

Texas Rep. Ron Paul, a favorite of libertarians, collected $8.2 million and spent $7.5 million during the period. His campaign ended September with $3.6 million in the bank and no debt.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum reported raising more than $700,000 during the quarter and spent nearly $750,000. His campaign had about $190,000 in the bank and about $70,000 in debt.

The new reports also give a glimpse into where money has been spent since July and if the candidate took out any loans to finance what is likely to become a costly presidential election.

Businessman Herman Cain's report said he raised $2.8 million and spent $1.9 million through Sept. 30, ending the period with $1.3 million in the bank. Through the end of September, Cain has loaned his campaign $675,000, with most of it taken out during the spring.

For Romney, more cash meant more flexibility in travel. He spent about $240,000 in private jets, although he has tweeted in the past about flying commercial on low-cost air carrier Southwest Airlines.