Key races to watch as third quarter fundraising numbers dribble in

Fundraising numbers have been pouring in from most presidential and Senate candidates ahead of the Oct. 15 deadline to report results for the third quarter for 2011, which ended Sept. 30. But in a number of key races, one or more candidates have yet to leak their figures.

Here’s a look at some key candidates keeping tight-lipped about their dollars:

GOP presidential primary:

  • Former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) — Although Romney has climbed back into the top spot in the Republican primary, he’s struggled against the perception that Republicans are reluctantly settling for him as their best chance to defeat President Obama, without any genuine enthusiasm for him as a candidate. And his main rival — Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) — raised a staggering $17 million in about six weeks after declaring his candidacy halfway through the quarter.
  • Herman Cain — The Georgia businessman has pulled off a stunning climb over the past month, and is now tied or slightly ahead of Romney in numerous polls. But his opponents have pointed out that he lacks a robust fundraising apparatus and have questioned whether he will be able to bring in what’s needed to fund a presidential race.
  • Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) — Bachmann has worked to fend off suspicions that her campaign momentum has evaporated and that she is running out of money. A solid fundraising performance would be the needed boost to reassert herself as a force to be reckoned with in the GOP race.
  • Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia) — Despite launching a series of attention-grabbing attacks at Democrats and the media during recent debates, Gingrich has been unable to climb out of the single digits in the polls.

Senate races:

  • Arizona — Rep. Jeff Flake (R) is the clear front-runner in the GOP race to replace retiring Sen. Jon Kyl (R), but Democratic challenger Don Bivens brought in a hefty $340,000 during his first quarter in the race. It’s still unclear whether Rep. Gabby Giffords (D), a prolific fundraiser who is recovering from an assassination attempt in January, will enter the race.
  • Missouri — Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) is facing an arduous reelection battle in 2012 for her second term in the Senate, undermined by broad dissatisfaction with Democrats and President Obama in her home state.
  • Nebraska — Sen. Ben Nelson (D) is another of the most vulnerable Democrats in the Senate, and has been fighting to distance himself from Obama, including by being one of only two Senate Democrats to vote against the president’s jobs package on Tuesday. One of his GOP challengers, Nebraska state Sen. Deb Fischer, brought in almost $230,000 over the past three months.
  • Florida — While Sen. Bill Nelson (D) revealed Tuesday that he raised almost $2 million for his tough reelection, none of his Republican opponents have released their figures. Even though Nelson has struggled in the state, the GOP primary candidates have had a tough time differentiating themselves before voters and it remains unclear which is likely to square off with Nelson in 2012.
  • Texas — Ted Cruz, the the Tea Party darling and dark horse candidate in Texas’s Republican primary, has yet to release his numbers. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst raised $2.6M and gave his own campaign $2 million to total more than $4 million cash on hand.
  • New Mexico — None of the four major candidates in New Mexico’s Senate race have announced their fundraising totals. Rep. Martin Heinrich (D) and State Auditor Hector Balderas are vying for the Democratic nomination, while former Rep. Heather Wilson (R) and Lt. Gov. John Sanchez (R) are the front-runners on the GOP side. Heinrich and Wilson are considered the front-runners, so the pressure is on Sanchez and Balderas to show they can keep pace in fundraising.
  • Indiana — While state Treasurer Richard Mourdock has yet to announce his fundraising totals, a source close to his campaign said he will loan it $100,000. Mourdock is facing off against longtime Sen. Richard Lugar (R) in the Republican primary. Many national conservative groups are backing him but the biggest spender, the Club for Growth, has said it won’t back him unless he can prove he can fundraise for himself. Mourdock had just $214,000 cash on hand at the end of last quarter.
  • Montana — Neither Sen. Jon Tester (D) nor Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) has announced their fundraising totals. Montana is a very cheap state in which to campaign, but their numbers could offer a glimpse into who has the momentum.
– Cameron Joseph contributed. This post was updated at 8:32 a.m.
Tags Bill Nelson Claire McCaskill Deb Fischer Jeff Flake Jon Tester Martin Heinrich Michele Bachmann Ted Cruz
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