Did Perry raise $20 million in early days of 2012 bid? Campaign says no

Holly Bailey

Rick Perry joined the Republican presidential race just under seven weeks ago, but is it possible he's raised more cash than Mitt Romney has over the last three months?

Ahead of Friday's third-quarter presidential fundraising deadline, sources tell the Dallas Morning News' Wayne Slater that Perry raised $20 million in just the first three days of his GOP nomination bid.

But Mark Miner, a Perry spokesman, disputes the report. "It is completely inaccurate," Miner tells The Ticket. "No truth whatsoever."

But the $20 million rumor does kick off what will be days of expectation setting ahead of Friday's Federal Election Commission deadline.

Perry aides have refused to put a specific number on how much campaign cash the Texas governor might report, but there is no question he's aiming to raise more cash than Romney, his chief rival for the nomination.

Romney raised $18.3 million during the first three months of his campaign—a haul that surpassed his GOP rivals but was far less than what he had hoped. A big question heading into this weekend's Federal Election Commission deadline is whether Romney can at least maintain the fundraising pace he's set, given that many of his top donors have already given the maximum donation to his campaign.

There's a reason Perry aides are moving so quickly to deny the $20 million report. Last spring, sources close to the Romney campaign leaked word that he was aiming to raise as much as $40 million on his first 2012 fundraising report. While Romney aides later denied the initial numbers, the $40 million figure gave the appearance that Romney had not been able to meet expectations--a storyline that Perry can't afford for his own campaign.