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Mitt Romney raises $18.25 million

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Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney talks with reporters outside Allentown Metal Works in Allentown, Pa., last week. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz) Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney raised $18.25 million over the past three months, a sum likely to put him head and shoulders above his rivals for the 2012 Republican nomination in the dash for cash.

“Voters are responding to Mitt Romney’s message that President Obama’s policies have failed and that we need new leadership in Washington,” Romney national finance chairman Spencer Zwick said. “Our fundraising for the second quarter represents the strong support Mitt Romney has across the country.”

All of the money Romney raised is for the primary race; he ended June with $12.6 million in the bank. Romney raised more than half of his total for the entire quarter during a single call day in Las Vegas in May.

Romney’s total is short of the $23.5 million he raised in the first quarter of 2007 — a sum seeded by roughly $2.5 million of his own money. He did not make any personal contributions during this reporting period, although he has not ruled out doing so during the campaign. In the 2008 race, Romney donated $44.5 million of his own money to the effort.

The Romney fundraising numbers come even as a new WMUR-TV Granite State poll in New Hampshire (see below) shows him as a clear frontrunner in the state’s primary.

Romney’s fundraising dwarfs that of his Republican opponents. Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) raised $4.5 million between April 1 and June 30, while former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty collected $4.2 million.

Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman, who entered the race just days before the end-of-June deadline, brought in $4.1 million — a total that included a major personal donation (although his campaign said it was less than half of what he raised.) Businessman Herman Cain brought in $2.5 million in the quarter, while former House speaker Newt Gingrich raised $2 million but is deep in debt, according to Politico.

The only other major candidate who has not reported fundraising totals is Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.). Bachmann shined in a New Hampshire presidential debate last month and was in a statistical dead heat with Romney in a recent Des Moines Register poll in Iowa — two development that should have helped her raise major money.

The Bachmann campaign says she will not announce her fundraising totals until July 15, the day the reports of contributions and expenditures over the last three months are due at the Federal Election Commission.

Romney will also likely benefit from a so-called “super PAC” organized by some of his former political advisers with the express intent of winning him the presidency in 2012. The group, Restore Our Future, announced Tuesday that it had raised $12 million over the first six months of the year.

Romney’s total virtually ensures that Obama will lap the entire Republican field easily when he announces his fundraising total — likely later this week.

As we noted this morning, however, those comparisons are not entirely fair; Obama is raising money into a joint fundraising account with the Democratic National Committee — allowing donors to write a single large check that is then divvied up between the re-election campaign and the DNC.

Romney keeps big N.H. lead, Bachmann gains: Romney continued to be the man to beat in New Hampshire, holding a lead of more than 20 points on all of his presidential opponents in the first-in-the-nation primary, according to the new WMUR-TV Granite State poll.

At the same time, Bachmann’s debate performance last month has done her some good, and she is now in second place.

Romney leads Bachmann 35 percent to 12 percent, with no other candidates cracking double digits.

Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani are tied for third at 7 percent, followed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 4 percent, Pawlenty and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin at 3 percent and Cain and Huntsman at 2 percent. Giuliani, Perry and Palin are not in the race.

The poll shows Pawlenty and Huntsman, who are thought to be frontrunners, both have a long ways to go. Huntsman, in particular, is banking on New Hampshire.

Romney led Giuliani 41 percent to 9 percent in last month’s poll.

DCCC launches ethics robocalls: Starting today, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is launching automated phone calls in the districts of six House Republicans.

The calls are specific to each congressman, detailing the lawmaker’s alleged unethical dealings. For example, the call in Florida Rep. David Rivera’s district includes the accusation that he “drove a truck off the road that carried campaign literature from his opponent.” Most of these scandals came out during or before the 2010 campaign.

The other targets: Colorado’s Scott Tipton (accused of directing taxpayer money to the company where his daughter works), Florida’s Vern Buchanan (his former company is accused of funneling donations to his campaign), Tennessee’s Stephen Fincher (he is under investigation by the Federal Election Commission for failing to disclose a loan to his campaign), New Hampshire’s Frank Guinta (he did not report a bank account that he used to finance his campaign), and New Hampshire’s Charlie Bass (he is accused of using his influence to help a relative’s company whose stock he then purchased).

Fundraising update: The presidential race numbers aren’t the only numbers rolling in these days. A few notable numbers from governor and Senate races:

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) continues to look strong, outraising his likely opponent, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder (R), more than two-to-one in the final week of the second quarter.

Connecticut state Rep. William Tong (D) raised a surprisingly strong $550,000, making himself a potential contender in a Senate primary with Rep. Chris Murphy and former secretary of state Susan Bysiewicz.

Florida state Senate President Mike Haridopolos (R), after a world-beating $2.6 million haul in the first quarter, came back to earth in the second quarter and raised $900,000. Haridopolos is challenging Sen. Bill Nelson (D) but faces a primary.

And former congressman Rick Hill (R) and state Attorney General Steve Bullock (D) are neck-and-neck in the still-forming Montana governor’s race.

No ‘ballot royale’ in Nevada: Republicans caught a break Tuesday when the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that the Sept. 13 special election for Sen. Dean Heller’s (R) old House seat will not be open to all candidates.

Instead, the race will be one-on-one, with former state GOP chairman Mark Amodei facing state Treasurer Kate Marshall (D). The two nominees were selected by their respective parties’ leadership in recent weeks.

Republicans worried that, in a free-for-all “ballot royale,” their many candidates would split the conservative vote, opening the door for Democrats to win the GOP-leaning seat.

Fixbits:

Obama’s Twitter town hall is today .

Republicans lose a top potential candidate for former congressman Anthony Weiner’s (D-N.Y.) seat, as City Councilman Eric Ulrich takes a pass.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe (R) weighs a run against Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.). Sharpe narrowly lost when he ran in 1994 and 1996.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) clarifies that he was not hinting that Republicans would be open to tax increases.

Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.), who is likely to get a bit of help from redistricting, won’t say whether he’ll seek reelection while running for president. His is a winnable seat for Democrats.

Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) accuses North Carolina Republicans of packing as many black voters into as few districts as possible with their new redistricting proposal.

Must-reads:

Perry Breaks With a Fellow Texan: Bush” — Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny, New York Times

Inside the Disappointing Comeback” — Jon Hilsenrath and Conor Dougherty, Wall Street Journal

Read more at PostPolitics.com

Fact Checker: Tim Pawlenty’s attack on Hillary Clinton

Huntsman aide Rep. Jason Chaffetz backs Romney over Huntsman

At N.H. town hall, Romney says Obama has made the economy worse

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