It is a truism that money and politics have become inseparable, so Friday's release of campaign finance data provides a window into a crucial hierarchy within the still-crowded Republican presidential field,and some details have emerged:
Mitt Romney: Already distinguished for his fundraising acumen, Romney pulled in just over $18 million in the last three months. That amount is considerably higher than the other candidates, but Politico notes lags behind his total at a similar time during the 2004 race.
Michele Bachmann: The Tea Party doyenne and ascendant Romney challenger reportedly raised about $2 million, in addition to another $4 million she transfered from her Congressional account. It is a small sum relative to the $13.5 million she garnered during the 2010 election cycle, outpacing every other Republican candidate according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Tim Pawlenty: The former Iowa governor has raised about $4.5 million so far, including about $2 million cash on hand, according to a campaign aide. Pawlenty is lagging in the polls, and is being dwarfed by the evangelical Midwest populism of Bachmann, so he could use the cash.
Rick Santorum: The former Pennsylvania senator and culture warrior (he joined Bachmann as the only candidate to sign a controversial pro-marriage pledge that seemed to speak favorably of slavery) managed a paltry $582,000, more than half of which went to pay campaign fees.
Jon Huntsman: The former Utah governor and ambassador to China collected about $4.1 million, according to his staff, although about half of that came from the candidate himself. (Huntsman inherited a family fortune stemming from, among other things, his father's inventing those little boxes Big Macs come in.) Perhaps he can invest more money into advertising, having already made one of the strangest campaign ads ever.
Sarah Palin: The perpetual speculation generator and documentary star raised more than $1.6 million through her political action committee in the first half of 2011, spending almost that much. While Palin has yet to officially declare her intentions, it is evident that she would be a formidable fundraiser.
Herman Cain: The Godfather's Pizza CEO has said he raised about $2.5 million, although it is not yet clear how much came out of his own pocket.
Likewise, it is not yet clear how much Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich raised but odds are on them having very different showings -- Paul's ability to raise big amounts of cash in short bursts is legendary and he just announced he would not seek re-election to his Congressional seat in order to focus on running for president full time. Meanwhile, Gingrich has faced the mass exodus of staffers -- including top fundraisers -- and in July Politico reported that his campaign was in debt.
To contact the editor, e-mail: