Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty may trail former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the Iowa polls, but the Minnesota presidential hopeful outspent his Massachusetts counterpart more than two-to-one on contributions to Iowa political candidates and conservative groups in the final quarter of 2010.
Pawlenty gave $34,000 to 19 politicians and organizations through his Iowa Freedom First political action committee, while Romney donated $16,000 with his PAC, according to Iowa campaign finance reports. Pawlenty also kept pace with Romney on the state fundraising front, raising $81,000 to Romney’s $87,500.
Among his contributions, Pawlenty gave $5,000 to Iowans for Tax Relief — the same group that Rep. Michele Bachmann is speaking to on Friday. Pawlenty addressed the group last year.
One downside for Pawlenty: He has just $1,900 remaining in his Iowa account, while Romney still has $108,600 in the bank.
State political committees are often used by undeclared presidential candidates to supplement their federal coffers. While donors can only give $5,000 per year to a federal political action committee, they aren’t prevented from also donating to state committees, which often have looser rules.
Pawlenty has established state committees in Iowa and New Hampshire — the first in the nation caucus and primary states — while Romney has five in all.
Romney, who ran for president in 2008, is viewed by many as the early frontrunner for the GOP nomination in 2012.