Thompson's Haul at $9 Million
Last but not least.... Republican presidential contender Fred Thompson has finally released an official tally of its fundraising for the past three months. He reports having raised $9.3 million between July 1 and Sept. 30, and having held on to $7 million in cash.
That puts Thompson slightly back of Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney in terms of money raised during the quarter. Giuliani raised $11 million, and has $16 million on hand. Romney raised $10 million, chipped in another $8.5 million of his own money, and now has about $9 million on hand.
Thompson's campaign aides have said his fundraising effort will leave him with enough cash to be competitive when the primary seasons gets underway in January.
"Some of the other campaigns have spent tens of millions of dollars so far, only to lose support among voters; yet, Fred is running strong in most of the early primary states without having spent a dime on advertising," noted Bill Lacy, Thompson's campaign manager. "We are on plan and will have the funding we need to get Fred's message to voters."
But his totals -- small when compared to the much larger first-quarter hauls by Romney and Giuliani -- have left some wondering whether he got started too late.
GOP strategist Ed Rollins said he's among those who thinks Thompson's fundraising numbers prove he got in too late. "Waiting as long has he did didn't give him the time to put in the infrastructure," Rollins said. "Raising money is the most difficult task in this drill today. You have to have an infrastructure to do that. You really needed a year to get things in place, and obviously he didn't have the time to do that."
But Curt Kiser, a Thompson bundler in Florida, said that as far as he can tell, "the only people out there who say that are the other candidates and the political pundits. There's nobody out there in the real world that says he waited too long to get in."
Kiser said he does not believe the campaign will ultimately come down to who raised the most money. "Not many people are in the position he's in," Kiser said of Thompson. "To not be an announced candidate until recently and virtually be in second place. He didn't have to go raise $10 or $15 million in those early months. Those people have raised that money, and some of spent most of it. He didn't need to do that."
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