Small checks drive Michele Bachmann's big bucks

June 24, 2011 - 3:44 AM
AP Poll GOP 2012

FILE - In this June 18, 2011 file photo, Republican presidential hopeful, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., speaks in St. Paul, Minn. Republicans are starting to pay more attention to the GOP candidates who hope to take on President Barack Obama next year, and so far that's been a good thing for Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty. For Newt Gingrich, not so much. (AP Photo/Hannah Foslien, File)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Republican Michele Bachmann is counting on legions of donors giving a few dollars at a time, over and over again, to carry her in the 2012 presidential race.

The Minnesota congresswoman formally launches her campaign Monday, but for many months she's been stocking up on campaign money.

Bachmann has cultivated a devoted base of small yet repeated donors. Of her $13.5 million haul for her 2010 congressional race, more than half came from contributors giving less than $200.

But Bachmann also spends a lot to raise each dollar; almost half of her 2010 expenses related to fundraising.

Experts say it's easier to control costs by soliciting major donors, those who reliably give at or near the maximum in every election cycle.