3rd Quarter Campaign Donations Off The Mark

The presidential campaigns don't have to file their third quarter disclosure reports with the Federal Election Commission until the end of next week. Numbers, however, are leaking out.

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In the back rooms of the presidential campaigns, accountants are adding up fundraising numbers for the third quarter. The totals won't officially be released until the end of next week, but some are already leaking out. NPR's Peter Overby reports.

PETER OVERBY: The big question is, how much did Rick Perry raise? The former Texas governor's campaign isn't saying, not 'til later this week. But for now, there are press reports that in Perry's late-breaking bid for the Republican nomination, he's raised $10 million.

Political scientist Candice Nelson, at American University, says that would be an achievement.

CANDICE NELSON: He's only been in the race for six weeks and he's raised 10 million, which was more than any candidate, other than Romney, raised in the second quarter.

OVERBY: Romney - Mitt Romney, that is, the former governor of Massachusetts, cut a video for his last-minute drive for dollars. There was a contest. The prize: a day on the campaign trail.

MITT ROMNEY: It's the last day where you can get a contribution in that will allow you, potentially, to spend a day with me on the campaign trail. So get the contribution in today.

OVERBY: A spokeswoman for Romney says the campaign brought in considerably less last quarter than the $18 million raised in the spring. The other Republican candidates are expected to trail significantly. And nobody in the GOP comes close to President Obama in the money race. Like Romney, Mr. Obama made a video last week. He got to the point.

OVERBY: We've got to build our organization now, and we're facing a major fundraising deadline on September 30th. Help by pitching in. I'll see you out there.

OVERBY: The campaign's third-quarter fundraising target was $55 million. That's down more than one-third from the previous quarter's total. Campaign officials point out that several presidential fundraising events were canceled because of the debt-limit showdown.

But Candice Nelson, the political scientist, says the Obama fundraising operation still looks like a juggernaut.

NELSON: We forget what it used to be like, back in '04. I mean, these are huge numbers.

OVERBY: All the speculation ends October 15th. That's when the campaigns have to file their signed reports at the Federal Election Commission.

Peter Overby NPR News, Washington.

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