* Only Perry to top Romney in cash race this quarter
* Obama campaign pulled in $43 million
By Patricia Zengerle and Kim Dixon
WASHINGTON, Oct 14 Mitt Romney raised more than
$14 million for his presidential campaign in the third quarter,
signaling the Republican front-runner's fund-raising remains
healthy despite big swings in opinion polls.
Texas governor Rick Perry, who hauled in $17 million in the
same period, is likely his only rival to top that figure. It
was Perry's first reporting period after a late entry into the
The Republican race to take on Obama has had wild swings,
though Romney has stayed near the top throughout. Perry's entry
caused a splash before a series of missteps, while pizza
executive Herman Cain is leading some polls now.
Still, Romney has taken the mantle of front-runner in many
ways in recent weeks, solidifying support from a broad array of
the Republican establishment and big time donors.
Romney's campaign on Friday also said the campaign had $14
million in cash on hand, with 83 percent of the donations in
increments of $250 or less.
Expectations had been that Romney and most other candidates
in the 2012 election would pull in less cash than in the three
months ended in June, when Romney took in $18 million.
The third fund-raising quarter is typically weak, largely
due to the summer vacation season.
President Barack Obama's campaign reported raising $70
million in the third quarter, including funds raised for the
Democratic National Committee.
The election is expected to be the priciest ever, with
Obama expected to raise more than his record-breaking $750
million from 2008.
After Supreme Court and other legal decisions loosening
campaign finance rules, proliferation of outside spending
groups with no contribution limits will add hundreds of
millions of dollars in new cash.
"Past a certain threshold, money is not going to be as
decisive this time," said Norm Ornstein, a scholar at the
American Enterprise Institute.
Cain does not have a large fundraising operation and raised
only $2 million in the second quarter, but he could see a bump
after a surprise win in a Florida straw poll and his
advancement in national polls.