[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/16/art.romney0716,gi.jpg caption="Mitt Romney's Free and Strong America PAC announced Thursday that it has raised $1.6 million during the first six months of this year."]
(CNN) – Former Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has bested fellow Republican Gov. Sarah Palin in the fundraising race in the first half of the year, a very early indicator of potential strength in the 2012 GOP presidential race.
Romney's Free and Strong America PAC raised $1.6 million in the first six months of this year, according to a statement released by the political action committee Thursday. (updated Thursday: a Romney aide has provided CNN with a total number of donors, both itemized and unitemized, for the first half of the year.)
Romney's take is more than twice the roughly $730,000 raised in the same period by Palin's SarahPAC - but the Alaska governor's political action committee has pulled in an additional $200,000 since she announced July 3 that she would be leaving office by the end of the month. Romney and Palin each received funds from more than 11,000 contributors.
Romney's PAC had roughly $841,000 in cash on hand as of June 30. It said Thursday it had contributed about $36,000 to federal candidates and political action committees and nearly another $27,000 to state candidates.
Romney's PAC contributed $5000 each to South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor, Missouri Rep. Roy Blunt, and to Jim Tedisco, who mounted an unsuccessful bid in New York's 20th Congressional District during a special election earlier this year. The PAC also contributed $1000 each to a group of Republicans who were targeted in a Democratic ad campaign because of their opposition to the $787 stimulus bill passed soon after President Obama took office.
Romney's PAC contributed to four Republicans in Virginia running for state offices, as well as to Chris Christie who is running against New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine in 2010.
The New Hampshire affiliate of Romney's federal PAC also contributed $10,000 to the New Hampshire Republican Party, according to Thursday's statement.
(updated to reflect additional information from the Romney team)