Obama, Perry are top fundraisers in S.C.

Rick Perry is the leading Republican presidential fundraiser in South Carolina, and he did most of it on one day in August.

The Texas governor took in $55,000 of the $103,000 that he has raised in South Carolina on Aug. 25. Katon Dawson, who is advising Perry’s S.C. campaign, confirmed Perry held an S.C. fundraiser that day but told a reporter, “I can’t tell you anything about it.”

While languishing in the polls, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania also is popular among S.C. donors. Santorum has raised $80,080 in the state, the second-highest of any Republican candidate, just ahead of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who raised $75,230.

President Barack Obama, a Democrat, actually was the top fundraiser in South Carolina, collecting $238,291. However, Obama is not expected to carry South Carolina, which last went for a Democratic presidential candidate in 1976.

Overall, South Carolinians have contributed $382,902 to Republican presidential candidates. In return, those candidates have spent $719,276 in the Palmetto State, according to reports from the Federal Election Commission.

Those spending numbers trail other-early voting states.

Republican candidates have spent $2.4 million in Iowa and $4.5 million in New Hampshire — states that will have their respective caucuses and primary elections before South Carolina’s Jan. 21 primary. Iowa donors contributed $255,659 to Republican candidates, while New Hampshire donors gave $405,599.

Donors in Florida, which caused a ruckus last month by moving its primary to Jan. 31 in defiance of GOP rules, have contributed $4.7 million to the Republican candidates, who have spent $1.8 million in that state.

South Carolina’s political power comes from its status as the first Southern state to hold a presidential primary.

But, thus far, the GOP candidates are holding off on spending big bucks in South Carolina, said Dave Woodard, a political science professor at Clemson University. Most of the time, a campaign’s biggest expense is TV commercials, money that Woodard said would be wasted if spent this early in the process.

“You don’t get any effect for a Jan. 21 primary by spending it now,” Woodard said. “The Christmas ads have already started going up. They are just going to kill everything between now and then.”

Most of South Carolina’s Republican donations, about 30 percent, came from business executives, including chief executives, presidents and business owners.

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