Pawlenty's National Fundraising Push Tops $3 Million

October 14, 2010 - 1:36 PM

St. Paul, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's national fundraising committee took in more than $565,000 between July and September, bringing his total haul above $3.1 million since forming the fund a year ago.

Pawlenty's political advisers supplied third-quarter fundraising figures Thursday for the Freedom First political action committee ahead of an official filing with federal campaign regulators. Pawlenty also has separate PACs in Iowa and New Hampshire, which have generated another $250,000 since they were set up.

Between the three funds, he had $667,000 in the bank on Sept. 30. The full report listing donors and expenses wasn't immediately available Thursday.

The possible presidential candidate has used the accounts to foot travel costs, pay consultants and cut checks to GOP candidates. So far, he has sent money to more than 160 candidates on the ballot, with total contributions to others amounting to $113,000 during the three-month period.

White House hopefuls routinely use such accounts to aid party candidates in hopes of building goodwill among activists in other states.

Among the recent recipients were gubernatorial candidates in Arkansas, California, Idaho, Illinois, Nevada, New Mexico and Oregon. Tea party-backed Republican Senate candidates Joe Miller in Alaska, Christine O'Donnell in Delaware and Jon Raese in West Virginia also received money from the Pawlenty PAC.

Pawlenty is gearing up for a Saturday trip to New Hampshire, his fifth trip to the key presidential primary state since announcing he wouldn't pursue a new term as governor. He spent last weekend in Iowa, a frequent destination for him lately.

Meanwhile on Thursday, Pawlenty sent seven $1,000 checks to Republican candidates seeking Michigan congressional seats.

If Pawlenty runs for president, he'll have to raise separate campaign money.

Other Republicans with possible presidential dreams have similar fundraising accounts. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin raised more than $1.2 million for hers during the last quarter.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour file reports on a monthly instead of quarterly schedule. Barbour's most recent filing is for August.

Romney's Free and Strong America PAC said it had raised almost $4 million from January through September, including $1 million in the three-month period comparable to Pawlenty's report. Romney has separate fundraising accounts for Iowa, New Hampshire, Alabama, South Carolina and Michigan.

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Associated Press Writer Kathy Barks Hoffman contributed to this report from Lansing, Mich.