EATON, N.H. (Reuters) - Long-shot Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul raised more than $4.5 million in the second quarter, giving the Texas congressman breathing room to continue his bid for his party's 2012 nomination, Paul campaign officials said Friday.
Paul, a favorite of Tea Party fiscal conservatives, was well behind the prodigious $15 million to $20 million raised by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in the same period. But aides said Paul pulled in far more than he had for the same period during his failed 2008 presidential campaign.
Not all candidates in the Republican field have announced figures for their latest round of fundraising but Paul's take topped that of former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who said he raised $4.2 million.
Unlike early front-runner Romney, who has tapped into a Rolodex rich with Wall Street and financial industry contacts, donations to Paul's campaign typically come in small amounts.
Paul, an anti-war libertarian, is focusing his campaign efforts on New Hampshire and Iowa to broaden his following beyond his core of energetic supporters. Paul finished fifth in the 2008 New Hampshire primary with 8 percent of the vote.
Paul, who is making his third presidential try, made a swing through northern New Hampshire on Friday, hitting diners and gas stations in a series of small towns to spread his message.
Speaking to Reuters from his campaign van, he said enthusiasm was growing for his message of smaller government, a halt to deficit spending and an immediate end to U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.
"Millions more people are concerned about the things I talked about four years ago," Paul said at a stop at a general store in Eaton. "It will be a much, much more significant campaign."
Pollsters think Paul could pull 8 percent to 10 percent of the vote in New Hampshire, whose first-in-the-nation primary will be held in February.
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