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Michele Bachmann puts up presidential-size fundraising numbers

Rep. Michele Bachmann raised more money in the first quarter of 2011 than presumptive GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney. If she runs for president, she'll have cash, experts say.

By Staff writer / April 1, 2011

Rep. Michele Bachmann speaks at the Tea Party Patriots 'Continuing Revolution' rally on Capitol Hill in Washington Thursday.

Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

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Washington

Rep. Michele Bachmann, the tea party champion from Minnesota, posted strong first-quarter fundraising numbers Friday – stronger than those of putative GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney.

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And with Congresswoman Bachmann making tell-tale moves toward a presidential campaign, this raises the question: Does former Massachusetts Governor Romney need to worry?

In the first three months of 2011, Bachmann brought in $2.2 million – $1.7 million for her congressional reelection campaign and another $500,000 for her political action committee, MichelePAC, according to her congressional chief of staff, Andy Parrish. Romney raised $1.9 million for his Free & Strong America PAC.

The first quarter of the year before a presidential election is hardly determinative, but in the case of Bachmann, her fundraising numbers are a reminder of her money-raising prowess. In the last election, she raised more money – $13.5 million – than any other House candidate, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. And any money she raises for her House reelection can be transferred to another campaign for federal office, including president.

If Bachmann does run for president, she brings big pluses (beyond fundraising) and big minuses to the field.

Like Sarah Palin, who is looking increasingly unlikely to run, she would bring charisma and enthusiastic voters into the process. A recent Gallup poll showed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Bachmann generating the highest “positive intensity” among Republicans, which is based on the difference between strongly favorable and strongly unfavorable opinions. (Mr. Huckabee, too, is looking as if he’s leaning against running.)

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