WASHINGTON Herman Cain, rising in national polls, raised $2.8 million in the third quarter to finance his run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, far shy of his main rivals but an increase over his earlier fundraising efforts, his campaign said on Saturday.
Cain, a former CEO of Godfather's Pizza who has never held elective office, raised an additional $2 million after the reporting period ended on September 30, his campaign said. He also reported $1.33 million cash on hand and no debt.
Cain entered the race as a long-shot but has picked up momentum in recent weeks, winning the September 24 Florida straw poll -- a test of strength of the Republican candidates -- and drawing media attention to his tax reform proposals.
Cain placed first in an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll among Republican candidates and second in a Reuters Ipsos poll this week.
His fundraising totals in the third quarter were far behind Texas Governor Rick Perry's $17 million and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's $14 million.
Cain had raised $2 million in the second quarter, among the lowest of the major Republican presidential aspirants.
Cain's signature "9-9-9" tax proposal would create a flat 9 percent income, corporate and national sales tax rate.
His supporters, including Republicans aligned with the conservative Tea Party movement, support the plan for its commitment to lower taxes. Critics say the plan would benefit wealthy taxpayers at the expense of middle- and lower-income Americans.
Saturday was the deadline for candidates in the 2012 presidential election to report quarterly fundraising figures.
After a strong start that included winning the Iowa straw poll in August, Representative Michele Bachmann has been faltering amid weak debate performances and the departure of key staff members. She raised roughly $4 million in the third quarter and spent nearly $6 million. She has roughly $1.3 million cash on hand.
Former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich, plagued by low poll numbers and the exodus of campaign staffers over the summer, raised $808,000 in the third quarter but has more than $1 million in debt.
Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, a more moderate candidate compared to Bachmann and Gingrich, reported about $327,000 in cash on hand at the end of the third quarter, raising questions about his long-term viability.
Huntsman, who served as U.S. ambassador to China under Democratic President Barack Obama before entering the race, has lent himself $2.24 million so far in his bid for the nomination.
Obama and the Democratic National Committee raised more than $70 million from July to September for his re-election bid, his campaign said this week, demonstrating Obama can still bring in big money despite slumping approval ratings.
(Reporting by Eric Johnson and Kim Dixon; Editing by Xavier Briand)