Via Kenneth P. Vogel:
Mitt Romney’s political operation raised $1.7 million from July through September, again pacing the field of prospective 2012 GOP presidential hopefuls.
The former Massachusetts governor, who lost a bid for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination and is widely believed to be preparing another run, has built a robust political operation including political action committees at the federal level and in five states with strategic significance in the pending battle for the Republican nomination: Iowa, New Hampshire, Alabama, South Carolina and Michigan.
The committees, which are all called Free and Strong America, pay for his staff, travel and contributions to like-minded candidates. According to figures provided Thursday by the Free and Strong America operation, which has a few more days to file formal reports detailing all the committees’ contributions and expenditures, the groups have raised a total of $5.1 million this year.
That’s more than the two next most actively fundraising prospective 2012 hopefuls – former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty – have raised in their political action committees this year combined.