Texas Gov. Rick Perry brought in more than $17 million in campaign contributions during the first seven weeks of his candidacy for president, his campaign announced Wednesday, probably putting him far ahead of his Republican rivals for the same period.

Campaign aides for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney did not release a total for campaign contributions from July to September, but said incoming funds had slowed. And Texas Rep. Ron Paul said Wednesday that he had collected more than $8 million, less than half what Perry has pulled in.

Campaign workers seem to think the news of such grand fundraising success can overshadow some of Perry’s missteps in recent weeks, including poor showings at debates and his less-than-conservative stance on immigration. And although that’s probably (sadly) true, more than anything it’s proof that too many politicians get into office based on financial backing rather than merit. –BF

USA Today:

“This is a very good start to Rick Perry’s fundraising,” said Anthony Corrado, a campaign-finance expert at Colby College in Maine. “He’s going to be competitive.”

Perry ended the July-to-September fundraising quarter with $15 million in available cash, almost all of it available for the GOP nomination fight. Nearly half of Perry’s donors came from Texas, where he is in his third term as governor and has long enjoyed the support of the state’s deep-pocketed donors.

Rob Johnson, Perry’s campaign manager, said the total demonstrates “overwhelming support for Gov. Perry’s principled, conservative leadership.”

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