Washington (CNN) After a flurry of last minute events and fundraising pitches, the presidential campaigns are tallying their amounts and getting ready to put the best spin forward.
Midnight Thursday marked the end of the second quarter– the first such period in which the leading GOP presidential contenders and President Obama declared their candidacies allowing them to start fundraising.
Any money raised by midnight counts towards this quarter's total although the campaigns have until July 15th to report information to the Federal Election Commission.
Much attention will be focused on former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who is leading in national polls as well as surveys in the key early states of New Hampshire and Iowa. Romney has worked hard to maintain his donor network from his 2008 run and has travelled to fundraisers across the country.
While Romney's campaign announced it had raised $10 million in one day in May with a national donor solicitation event in Las Vegas, his aides insist his total for the quarter will be $15-$20 million. Unlike in 2007, this quarter Romney is not putting any of his own money into the campaign coffers, a campaign aide told CNN. All of Romney's money raised so far is going towards his primary campaign. No funds are being earmarked for a possible general election campaign if he wins the nomination.
"Being an establishment front runner is not all it is made up to be," Republican consultant Scott Reed told CNN. "Twenty million is still a strong quarter. Expectations were raised when they raised 10 million in Vegas in one day."
On Thursday in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Romney chided Obama for doing fundraisers.
"He doesn't even have a primary opponent. He is going to raise a billion dollars. We're not going to raise anywhere near that kind of money," he told reporters. (Obama and Democratic officials say despite what sources have said they do not expect the President's re-election campaign will bring in $1 billion.)
Romney is expected to have a larger haul than any of the other Republican candidates.
"We are going to have sufficient funds to take our message to the people and the primaries, I don't know if we will outpace the others. These are leaner times," Romney said earlier this week at a stop in New Hampshire.
Romney also will be getting an extra boost. Some of his former aides have formed a separate super political action committee, Restore Our Future PAC, which is expected to bring in nearly $10 million, a source familiar with that effort told CNN. That committee and the Romney camp cannot coordinate activities, but its efforts will definitely aid him.
The totals this quarter are projected to be much less than the equivalent period in 2007 because the candidates started their efforts much later than four years ago. Experts cited several other reasons as well: the weak economy, especially the real estate market which impacts a lot of donors, the primary contest is just really getting underway and there is still some uncertainty about whether other candidates will enter the nomination fight.
"I think it is a very competitive fundraising marketplace for everyone this cycle," consultant Reed, who ran Bob Dole's 1996 campaign, told CNN. There is still a lot of
As for the other contenders–
Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty raised just over $4 million between April and June, his campaign announced Friday, a figure that experts call disappointing for the GOP presidential candidate.
"Gov. Pawlenty will report that his campaign has raised about $4.2 million and begins the third quarter with more available cash-on-hand than the Republicans who won the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary had in 2007," spokesman Alex Conant said in a statement.
Rep. Ron Paul, who has been successful in the past bringing in major amounts of cash, posted on his campaign site that he has brought in $4.5 million.
Former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman's campaign said he raised $4.1 million in the second quarter, but almost half of it came from his own funds. Huntsman has been hitting the major GOP donors since getting into the race last month. He had 18 fundraiser events in 9 days. Huntsman does not have to file a report this quarter since he entered the race so late.
Rep. Michelle Bachmann has been quite successful in the past raising money. She was the House incumbent who raised the most funds in the 2010 election bringing in $13.2 million. She also brought in $1.7 million in the first quarter for her congressional account. Her campaign points out she however has only been in the presidential race for a few weeks. However, she can transfer the approximate $2.9 million in her House account to her presidential campaign. Her campaign won't say whether those funds were already moved. It is not expected she will report her total until right near the July 15th deadline.
Many eyes will be on Newt Gingrich after his key fundraisers recently quit in the wake of his massive staff resignations of consultants and campaign officials, in part sources have said due to differences over how much time the former House Speaker would spend asking for money, how much he had already spent and where his campaign should devote resources. In an interview with Fox News earlier this week Gingrich blamed those consultants for leaving him in debt and "since they've been gone we've been raising more than we've been spending." Sources had previously blamed Gingrich for some of the spending decisions. Gingrich's team put out a last minute appeal Thursday afternoon saying "If you are planning to donate to this campaign, there is no better time than right now...the results of this quarter will be released publicly in a few days. This report will play a major role in shaping the news narrative about the strength of Newt's campaign. That means every donation made between now and midnight tonight is critically important."
- CNN Political Reporter Peter Hamby, Research Director Robert Yoon and Researcher Adam Levy contributed to this story.