U.S. Candidate Romney Among Fundraising Leaders

Mitt Romney’s campaign raised more than $14 million in the third quarter, signaling that the Republican U.S. presidential hopeful’s fundraising remains robust despite shifts in opinion polls.

Romney’s ability to raise cash was second among Republicans only to that of Texas Governor Rick Perry, who hauled in $17 million in the same June to September period.

It means both men have strong war chests as they head into campaign battles in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, which could play a huge role in determining who wins the Republican nomination to oppose President Barack Obama’s bid for re-election next year.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and co-founder of the private equity firm Bain Capital, has the support of much of the Republican establishment, but has yet to excite the party’s conservative base.

“He’s flatlined,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. Perry’s support was well over 30 percent but has dropped by about half, while Cain’s has more than tripled to the high teens in recent weeks as supporters move between the two conservatives, not to Romney.

Expectations had been that Romney and most other candidates would pull in less cash in the third quarter than in the previous three months, when Romney raised $18 million.

Read more from Kim Dixon and Patricia Zengerle at Reuters

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