- The Washington Times - Friday, October 5, 2007

Mitt Romney, who has seen his New Hampshire poll lead drop from 16 points to just one over Rudolph W. Giuliani in some surveys, fell behind the former New York mayor in funding over the summer and poured millions of his own money into his campaign.

Mr. Giuliani raised $10.5 million for the presidential primary race in July, August and September. Mr. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor worth upward of a half billion dollars, raised $10 million for the primaries, but he loaned his campaign $8.5 million — bringing that total to $17.5 million.

While Mr. Giuliani has more than $16 million on hand, Mr. Romney has just $9 million, and his debt to himself puts him $8.5 million in the hole.

Mr. Romney downplayed his loans to himself yesterday as he campaigned in New Hampshire, where polls now show him in a statistical dead heat with Mr. Giuliani.

“Writing checks is always painful for me, no matter what it’s for, but I nonetheless recognize this is a critical race,” he told reporters in Manchester. “There is nothing more important to me than the success of this nation, and I know a lot of people are sacrificing to help my campaign, and I will certainly be contributing in my own campaign.”

Also yesterday, former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee announced that he had raised $9.3 million in the quarter and had $7 million in the bank, all available for the primaries.

Mr. Giuliani’s campaign was buoyant after the numbers were released.

“In a continued sign of growing support, our campaign has led the Republican field for the second quarter in a row in the fundraising race,” said campaign manager Michael DuHaime. “We’re receiving real support from across the country because voters know Rudy Giuliani is the only candidate who has proven leadership, executive experience and can beat the Democrats in November.”

Mr. Romney has trailed Mr. Giuliani in national polls — the average of which puts the former mayor at 28 percent, Mr. Thompson at 21 percent; Sen. John McCain of Arizona at 14.4 percent and Mr. Romney at just 10.4 percent, according to realclearpolitics.com.

His lead in New Hampshire also has dropped dramatically recently. In June, Mr. Romney was leading Mr. Giuliani by an average of 10 points — and by 16 percentage points in one poll — but that has dropped to just four percentage points, nearly within the margin of error.

The Romney campaign bristled yesterday when asked whether the candidate is flagging.

“Are you serious?” said spokesman Kevin Madden. “Rudy leads in the national polls, yet can only raise $500,000 more than someone who is still just meeting many Republicans for the first time. When you have 100 percent name ID like Mayor Giuliani, but can only scrape by the rest of the field, it points to a glaring structural weakness in your campaign.”

Mr. McCain, who has rebounded from a faltering summer, reported raising $6 million during the third quarter but holds $1.5 million of debt and has just $3.6 million in cash. Still, campaign manager Rick Davis said, “We’re now on sound financial footing and running a robust campaign gaining clear momentum in the early states.”

In a surprise, dark-horse candidate Rep. Ron Paul of Texas hauled in more than $5 million over the summer. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has not yet reported his take.

Mr. Romney has raised about $45 million from contributors for the primary run; Mr. Giuliani about $40 million, as well as $4 million for the general election. But with his loans, Mr. Romney’s total receipts are more than $62 million.

The two Republicans lag far behind the two Democratic Party money leaders — Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois. Mrs. Clinton has raised about $63 million for the primary and about $17 million for the general election. She also has transferred $10 million left over from her 2006 Senate campaign. Mr. Obama has raised about $75 million for the primary contest and about $4 million for the general election.

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