Larry Craig

Craig split hasn't hurt Romney's Idaho fundraising

WASHINGTON — Presidential contender Mitt Romney's fundraising in Idaho hasn't been hurt by his split with Sen. Larry Craig, according to the most recent campaign filings with the Federal Elections Commission.

Romney, former GOP governor of Massachusetts, remains the strongest presidential fundraiser in Idaho, even after his high-profile parting of the ways with Idaho's senior Republican senator.

Romney dropped Craig as a campaign volunteer within hours of the Aug. 28 news that the Idaho Republican had pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct following an arrest in a men's room sex sting in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. The campaign also backed away from three fundraisers it had planned in Idaho, including one the day after the news broke of Craig's arrest.

It hasn't seemed to hurt Romney, although the split has bruised Craig's feelings. This week, Craig complained in an interview with NBC's Matt Lauer that Romney "not only threw me under his campaign bus, he backed up and ran over me again."

Romney has raised $457,248 in Idaho, more than half of the $848,374 picked up in the state by presidential contenders. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Republican, has raised $161,500, followed by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., with $77,695.

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, a Democrat, raised $48,175 and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton $28,585. Clinton trailed long-shot Republican candidate Ron Paul, who raised $32,246.

While GOP candidates overall are out-raising Democrats in heavily Republican Idaho, Democrats are ahead of Republican presidential candidates nationwide in a "growing financial disparity," the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

Romney, with $43.7 million in contributions, is the top Republican fundraiser so far, according to the Post analysis. Giuliani has brought in $39.2 million.

But they both trail the $61.4 raised by Clinton, or the $74.7 million brought in by Obama. John Weaver, a former adviser to McCain's presidential campaign, told the paper that Republicans have a "lack of energy, a lack of enthusiasm, a lack of optimism about the near-term future of the party."

Erika Bolstad: (202) 383-6104

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