Pawlenty raises nearly $778k in last quarter before elections

Minnesota GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty's three political action committees took in almost $778,000 in the third fundraising quarter, the last before the November midterm elections. 

Pawlenty, a potential 2012 presidential candidate, raised $777,980 between July 1 and Sept. 30, the vast majority ($556,799) coming through his Freedom First PAC. The governor's Iowa and New Hampshire PACs took in $135,505 and $85,676, respectively.

The governor's cash flow continues to trail behind the top two fundraisers in the field of possible GOP presidential primary candidates — former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Romney raised $1.7 million in the third quarter and has raised $5.3 million through the end of September. Palin took in $1.2 million in the third quarter, putting her year-to-date total at $2.5 million. Pawlenty has raised a total of $1.8 million this year.

A Pawlenty spokesman noted that the governor raised the money he did while making trips to Iraq, Afghanistan and China while performing his duties as governor and raising money for the Republicans Governors Association. 

The three PACs have nearly $668,000 cash-on-hand through the end of September — over the three-month period, it doled out over $113,000 to GOP candidates around the countries, including the Senate campaigns of Christine O'Donnell (Del.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Dan Coates (Ind.), Carly Fiorina (Calif.), John Raese (W.Va.) and Ron Johnson (Wisc.)

He also doled out cash to the Republican parties of two early presidential primary states, New Hampshire and South Carolina, and he gave to the campaigns of several Iowa lawmakers.

Pawlenty's camp announced a number of endorsements in Michigan Thurdsay: the governor will donate $1,000 each to GOP Reps. Dave Camp, who could be the Ways and Means Committee chairman if Republicans take control of the House, and Thaddeus McCotter, a member of leadership.

He is donating the same amount to House candidates Dave Benishek, former Rep. Tim Walberg, Rob Steele, Bill Huizenga and Rocky Raczkowski. He is also giving a hand to GOP gubernatorial nominee Rick Snyder, who is leading his Democatic opponent Virg Bernero in the polls. 

—This post was updated at 12:39 p.m.