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Finance reports show gap between candidates

Reports released Saturday offered the first major picture into the haves and the have-nots among the Republican presidential candidates.
Image: GOP Presidential Candidates Debate In Orlando Ahead Of Florida Straw Poll
Republican presidential candidates, Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney listens in the Fox News/Google GOP Debate at the Orange County Convention Center on Sept. 22, in Orlando, Fla. Pool / Getty Images
/ Source: The Associated Press

With just over a year left in the race for the White House, campaign finance reports released Saturday offered the first major picture into the haves and the have-nots among the Republican presidential candidates.

Two of the top Republican contenders, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, have brought in more than $30 million combined. Meanwhile, candidates like former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and businessman Herman Cain have raised significantly less than that.

The financial reports detail how flush the GOP candidates are with cash — or how nearly broke they are — heading into the final weeks before contests in key primary states.

Reports on two of the biggest money-raisers so far — Romney and President Barack Obama — reveal millions in contributions from party devotees and small-dollar donors alike.

At the same time, reports filed late Friday offered a mixed picture of the campaign field, with Obama raising more than $70 million between his campaign and the Democratic Party. Some candidates are saddled with debt, such as former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and former candidate Tim Pawlenty, who both owe hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul, a favorite of libertarians, collected $8.2 million and spent $7.5 million during the period. His campaign ended September with $3.6 million in the bank and no debt.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum reported raising more than $700,000 during the quarter and spent nearly $750,000. His campaign had about $190,000 in the bank and about $70,000 in debt.

The new reports also give a glimpse into where money has been spent since July and if the candidate took out any loans to finance what is likely to become a costly presidential election.

Businessman Herman Cain's report said he raised $2.8 million and spent $1.9 million through Sept. 30, ending the period with $1.3 million in the bank. Through the end of September, Cain has loaned his campaign $675,000, with most of it taken out during the spring.

For Romney, more cash meant more flexibility in travel. He spent about $240,000 in private jets, although he has tweeted in the past about flying commercial on low-cost air carrier Southwest Airlines.

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who is expected to have raised at least $4 million, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have until 11:59 p.m. EDT Saturday to file their first presidential campaign reports with the Federal Election Commission.