For the third quarter of this election cycle, Republican presidential contenders lagged behind their Democratic counterparts in amassing campaign contributions.
But the GOP candidates in this election cycle are still outpacing Republicans of elections past, bringing in an enormous amount of cash for the party's nominating contest.
For the second quarter in a row, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was top dog in the GOP pack, bringing in $11 million from donors, almost all of which will be available for the primaries and caucuses. Even more significant, the Giuliani camp estimates it has more than $16 million in the bank.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who tops Giuliani in states holding early nominating contests in '08, raised $10 million in the summer quarter.
Romney added to his cash pool, writing himself a check for an additional $8 million.
In total, Romney has contributed $17 million of his personal wealth -- estimated to be more than $200 million -- to his campaign. As long as he does not accept public money, he will be able to continue to infuse his campaign with whatever amount of money it needs to survive.
Romney and Giuliani's third quarter figures trailed their totals in the first and second quarters. Both were well behind the top Democratic candidates -- Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and Barack Obama, D-Ill. -- who raised $27 million and $20 million respectively.
Perhaps hoping to avoid comparisons with the Democratic candidate pool, the top GOP candidates held off on revealing their totals, waiting for days after the leading Democrats released their totals from the summer haul.
Still, the numbers tell the story. Democrats continue to trounce Republicans in fundraising. Combined, the top three Democratic contenders -- Clinton, Obama and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards -- have raised nearly $190 million compared to the $121 million Romney, Giuliani and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., have raised.
On both sides of the aisle, all the leading candidates posted smaller totals than their first and second quarter tallies. Several campaigns cited donors being tapped out and summer vacation making fundraising slow.
Aides to former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, who officially entered the race in September, put his third quarter take at $9.3 million. He's raised $12.3 million since he starting fundraising this June.
McCain posted his weakest quarter, bringing in $6 million, putting his cash on hand figure at $3.6 million. His campaign paid off the $1.9 million of debt, which campaign records show from June 30, McCain aides say.
One of the biggest surprises of the third quarter is the $5 million haul from long-shot candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas. At the close of the quarter, Paul had nearly $2 million more cash on hand than McCain.
Also in the Republican pool, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, steadily gaining steam since a second-place August victory in the Iowa Straw Poll, posted his strongest fundraising quarter, bringing in more than $1 million.
Though his campaign wasn't suffering from lack of funding, Giuliani probably doesn't mind once again eclipsing his rivals in the money game. Despite being the clear GOP national front-runner, due in large part to his fundraising prowess and lead in national polls, Giuliani has been dogged by conservatives' concerns over his comparatively liberal views on abortion, gay marriage and gay rights.
Giuliani's campaign sought to play up his fundraising strength as a sign of his viability, particularly against Democrats in the general election.
"In a continued sign of growing support, our campaign has led the Republican field for the second quarter in a row in the fundraising race. We're receiving real support from across the country because voters know Rudy Giuliani is the only candidate who has proven leadership, executive experience and can beat the Democrats in November," said Giuliani campaign manager Michael DuHaime in a statement.
The cash numbers for both the Republicans and Democrats are remarkable and record setting. Giuliani, Romney and McCain have nearly doubled the $67 million George W. Bush, John McCain and Gary Bauer had raised at the same point in the 2000 election.
All candidates are required to submit a detailed breakdown of fundraising to the Federal Election Commission by Oct. 15.