Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) entered the presidential race a few weeks from the end of the second quarter. No one expected that she would raise as much as Mitt Romney did in the entire quarter. But her total is nevertheless unimpressive: “Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann raised about $4 million for her campaign in the second quarter of the year, a Republican source told CBS News.” And it actually isn’t $4 million. “The Minnesota congresswoman brought in $2 million through fundraising in the past 2 1/2 weeks and transferred another $2 million from her congressional account, CBS said on its website Thursday night, citing a Republican source close to Bachmann.”
If we extrapolate to the entire quarter (13 weeks), this would mean she would have raised a little more than $12 million. Romney raised $18 million.
There are some possible explanations for this. First, she didn’t spend too much time fundraising and concentrated on the debate and a series of media appearances and Iowa visits. Alternatively, it may be that her fundraising team really didn’t get fully up and running. If it is the latter, she better straighten the operation out quickly to stay even with the well-oiled Romney machine.
Bachmann from here out will have a problem candidates like Tim Pawlenty would love: the danger of high expectations. She raises $2 million in 2 1/2 weeks; it’s a problem. Suppose he wins Ames, but not by a big margin. Then “Bachmann squeaks by” is the headline. In other words, Bachmann now has to maintain her status as the surging second-place candidate and main rival to Romney. If she doesn’t, or if Texas Gov. Rick Perry knocks her off stride, she’ll face criticism and, worse, raise doubts about her viability.