NPR logo Rick Perry Rides Money Rocket Up As Romney, Obama Hit Cruise Speed

Barack Obama

Rick Perry Rides Money Rocket Up As Romney, Obama Hit Cruise Speed

With accountants on the presidential campaigns now busily toting up fundraising numbers for the third quarter, the big question is this: How much did Rick Perry raise?

The former Texas governor's campaign spokesmen aren't saying, not till later this week. But on Monday, Reuters cited campaign fundraising volunteers who said Perry's late-breaking bid for the Republican nomination has grossed more than $10 million.

Political scientist Candice Nelson, academic director of the Campaign Management Institute at American University in Washington, D.C., says that amount of money in so short a time would be an achievement.

"He's only been in the race for six weeks," she says. If he in fact has raised $10 million or more, it would be "more than any candidate other than Romney raised in the second quarter."

Romney – that is, Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts – cut a video last week to help his campaign's drive for last-minute dollars. The drive included a contest. The prize: a day campaigning with Romney.

In the short video, Romney said he was in New York City, visiting friends. Then he added, "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!"

A spokeswoman for Romney says the campaign brought in "considerably less" last quarter than the $18.2 million raised in the spring, but will still meet its quarterly goal.

Other Republican candidates are expected to trail significantly behind Romney and Perry. And nobody in the GOP comes close to President Obama in the money race.

Like Romney, Mr. Obama made a video last week. He was quick and to-the-point: "We've got to build our organization and we're facing a major fundraising deadline on September 30th. Help by pitching in. I'll see ya out there."

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

Campaign officials have been fending off questions of whether Mr. Obama's fundraising power has diminished as his poll numbers go down. But Candice Nelson, the political scientist, says the Obama fundraising operation still looks like a juggernaut, much like his 2008 campaign. "We forget what it used to be like, back in '04," she says. "These are huge numbers."

All the speculation ends Oct. 15, when signed reports from the campaigns are due at the Federal Election Commission.