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The campaign contribution scramble: Will Mitt Romney keep GOP lead?

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Perry’s campaign has set a $10 million target for the quarter, after knocking down reports that he’d raised $20 million in just his first few events. Analysts expect him to come in at more than $10 million, but it’s clear he would have done better if his debate performances had been stronger. According to news reports, some potential Perry donors are sitting on their hands and waiting to see if the governor can recover in the next debate Oct. 11.

Perry is also limited by a Securities and Exchange Commission rule that bars campaign contributions from firms that are handling his state’s public pension funds. That is hindering his ability to fundraise on Wall Street. At the same time, Mr. Romney is poaching former Obama donors on Wall Street. So far, Romney has raised more than twice as much Wall Street money as Obama – $2.3 million versus $857,000 – according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics compiled by Bloomberg.

Romney, still trailing Perry in the polls, raised $18.3 million in the second quarter of 2011 – more than all the other Republican candidates combined. But reports indicate he will not reach that total in the third quarter. Typically, the quarter following the first big round of fundraising is difficult, as the “low-hanging fruit” has already been plucked and sure-thing donors have reached the maximum.

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