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Gingrich campaign says it raised about $9M in fourth quarter


LE MARS, Iowa -- The Newt Gingrich campaign claims to be in good financial health as 2011 draws to a close, raising an estimated $9 million between October and December.

A spokesman for the former House speaker said the campaign's finances had recovered somewhat from their summer doldrums, when Gingrich reported incurring about $1 million in debt.

“The campaign has money,” Gingrich Spokesman R.C. Hammond told the press bus trailing Gingrich’s on his second day of his Iowa "Jobs & Growth Bus Tour."

“The campaign, for the fourth quarter, has raised a similar amount of money to what John McCain raised in 2007 at the same point…it’s about $9 million dollars,” Hammond told reporters, adding that their average campaign donation is between $75 and $100.

Hammond stopped both Gingrich's bus and the press bus on the side of the highway to board the press bus to inform reporters about their fundraising prowess. Up until this point, the Gingrich campaign had been rather hushed on how much money they had raised, saying it was their “strategy.” 

It provides some positive news for Gingrich on the same day a CNN/TIME poll was published, showing his standing sliding to fourth place among likely Iowa caucus-goers.

"Today’s CNN poll,” the Gingrich spokesman said, “shows Mitt Romney has a ceiling and he spent $13 million since ’07 in the state of Iowa, and he can't break it."

Hammond decided to release these numbers to the press tonight, as Gingrich was on a tele-town hall with Iowans, because of an “erroneous report” misstating the campaign’s fundraising.

The influx in donations for Gingrich corresponds with his surge in the polls in late November and early December; Hammond said funds started to pick up after the FOX debate in Ames, Iowa. He had raised a mere $800,000 for the third quarter (July through September).

On Oct. 25, Gingrich told reporters in New Hampshire that his campaign had already raised more money in October than they did in all of the third quarter. 

Gingrich’s spokesman also said “the campaign has paid off some of the debt obligations occurred over the summer” and that they will have a positive balance of cash on hand when the quarter ends on Dec. 31. He did note, though, “Any good campaign three days before the Iowa caucus won’t have a lot” of cash on hand.

The campaign is only spending $500,000 on television ads in Iowa this week leading up to the caucus. While that is more than it has spent in previous weeks, it is significantly less than what Gingrich’s GOP rivals are spending.