Perry struggled to raise funds as poll numbers dropped

AUSTIN — Gov. Rick Perry, who was flush with campaign cash when he appeared to be a viable contender for the Republican presidential nomination, sustained a steep drop-off in fund-raising as he nosed downward in the polls, according to a campaign finance disclosure statement filed with the U.S. Federal Election Commission.

Perry, who dropped out of the race on Jan. 19 in the face of a likely defeat in the South Carolina primary, collected only $2.9 million in the last three months of the year - far less than the $17.2 million Perry raised during the previous quarter when he was at the peak at the candidacy.

Perry amassed the $17.2 million in just seven weeks after entering the race on Aug. 13, a figure that surpassed the third-quarter fundraising of his competitors. It also reflected Perry's perceived stature as a potential nominee, who, at the time, was riding high in the polls.

But as Perry began to slide with sub-par debate performances, potential donors began to look elsewhere, complicating the Texas governor's efforts to stay in the race.

Perry spent more than $14 million in advance of the crucial Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, according to media reports, but came in fifth in a state where he had hoped to reenergize his campaign.

He came close to dropping out of the race after the Iowa defeat - his first loss in a 27-year-political career - but he chose to press ahead into South Carolina, before ending his campaign two days before the state's Jan. 21 primary.

Perry Communication Director Ray Sullivan told reporters that the campaign had spent most of its financial resources by the time Perry dropped out of the race.

Presidential candidates are required to submit their year-end financial disclosure reports by midnight Tuesday.

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