US & Canada

Mitt Romney raises $18m for Republican 2012 run

Mitt Romney
Image caption Mr Romney spent about $45m of his own money on his 2008 campaign - and could fund his 2012 bid

Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's bid for the 2012 Republican nomination raised $18.25m (£11.4m) in the second quarter of 2011, his campaign said.

The haul appears to cement the former Massachusetts governor's status as the early frontrunner in the race for the Republican nomination, analysts say.

His three nearest rivals in the Republican effort to unseat President Barack Obama each raised about $4m.

Mr Romney's take was $3m less than the same period in 2007, when he also ran.

The final deadline for submitting fundraising totals for the period running from 1 April to 30 June is 15 July.

But Mr Romney's campaign released its unofficial totals on Wednesday.

"Voters are responding to Mitt Romney's message that President Obama's policies have failed and that we need new leadership in Washington," the campaign's national finance chairman Spencer Zwick said in a statement.

"Our fundraising for the second quarter represents the strong support Mitt Romney has across the country."

Rivals trail

Meanwhile, the Washington Post that reported the $4.1m raised by former Utah Governor and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman included "a major personal donation".

Among Mr Romney's other Republican rivals, Congressman Ron Paul, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty raised $4.5m and $4.2m, respectively, the Washington Post reported.

Former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich, whose campaign has suffered major staff defections in recent weeks, took in about $2m, Politico reported - but his campaign is also said to be some $1m in debt.

Mr Romney, who lost a bid in 2008 for the Republican presidential nomination, leads in early polls. The first contest of the 2012 primary season will be held in Iowa in February.

Mr Obama is unchallenged for the Democratic nomination.

He is expected to raise as much as $1bn for the general election fight, which will begin in earnest after the Republicans have chosen a nominee.

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