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Romney, Perry vie for Calif. campaign cash

Steve Marcus/ReutersGOP presidential candidates Mitt Romney (left) and Rick Perry drew millions in campaign donations from California in the third quarter.

Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney is dominating the money race in California, but Texas Gov. Rick Perry also has mined millions out of the Golden State in just a few months, according to new campaign finance data released this week.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Romney has raised $3.9 million from Californians since he began his presidential campaign late last spring. Perry has raised $1.2 million from California donors since he entered the race in August.

Despite lagging behind in the polls, Perry out-raised all of his Republican rivals in this year’s third-quarter filings, bringing in $17.2 million in the 49 days between entering the race in mid-August and the filing deadline at the end of September.

But the majority of those donations, nearly $10 million, came from his home state of Texas. California was the only other state from which he raised more than $1 million, no doubt due in part to several fundraising swings he made through the state this summer.

By contrast, Romney raised millions from several states, including California, New York, Florida and Texas, showcasing the wide fundraising base he began building during his first campaign for the Republican nomination in 2008.

Because of its relative wealth, California is often a top source of cash, regardless of the campaign. But Perry and Romney both have especially close ties to the California political apparatus that makes the state key to their success.

Failed Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman has been a key fundraiser for Romney, who also owns a home in La Jolla. During his first campaign, Romney raised more from California than any other state, and he has cultivated a stable of donors here going back to his days as governor of Massachusetts.

For Perry, California figured prominently in early headlines about his entry into the presidential race. State Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Chico, and La Jolla businessman Robert Schuman both formed committees designed to draft and support Perry before he entered the race. He also raised nearly a half-million dollars of his own from Californians during his days as Texas governor.

Beyond Romney and Perry, California residents also shelled out money for the rest of the Republican field, though in much smaller amounts.

Former Godfather's Pizza executive Herman Cain, who is polling at the front along with Romney, has raised just $130,000 from Californians. Libertarian-leaning Ron Paul raised $657,000 here, and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann has raised more from California than anywhere else, including her home state: $293,000.

A complete breakdown of California totals for each of the candidates follows:

Candidate Total
Mitt Romney $3,949,677
Rick Perry $1,257,673
Ron Paul $657,690
Michele Bachmann $293,776
Jon Huntsman $251,215
Herman Cain $130,240
Newt Gingrich $130,028
Gary Johnson $50,390
Rick Santorum $28,650
Fred Karger $20,030
Thad McCotter $2,005

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