MILWAUKEE - U.S. Reps. Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, and Michele Bachmann, of Minnesota, are among the top five U.S. House candidates nationwide in money raised during the current two-year election cycle, according to midyear election filings.
Bachmann raised $14.8 million, and Ryan brought in $4.2 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
All of the top five fundraisers were Republicans. The other three were Rep. John Boehner, of Ohio, who raised $18.2 million, Rep. Allen West, of Florida, who pulled in $10 million, and Rep. Eric Cantor, of Virginia, who raised $6.3 million.
In addition to the $4.2 million he raised for his campaign, Ryan collected $4.3 million in 2011-'12 for his political action committee, Prosperity PAC, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report ( http://bit.ly/SLm7FP).
Ryan, who is from Janesville, is raising far more money than he did during his first five House campaigns, when he raised an average of about $1.3 million per election. In this campaign he's on pace to top $5 million.
Mid-year election filings also show that Ryan has $5.4 million cash in hand, the most of any House candidate in the country.
Bachmann has $1.9 million cash on hand, and her political action committee, Michele PAC, showed receipts of $1 million in the 2012 cycle.
Ryan's fundraising reflects his popularity among conservatives and businesses nationwide. He has been widely talked about as a vice presidential candidate to run with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Ryan attributed his fundraising prowess to his work on House budgets, in which he has pushed to cut federal spending and helped define the differences between the political parties on spending issues.
"It's all because of our message," Ryan said. "The country is so ready to be talked to like adults."
But just as Ryan has energized his base, he has also animated political donors on the other side.
His Democratic opponent, Rob Zerban, has raised more than $1 million, a substantial sum for a first-time congressional candidate. However, Zerban has a tenth of Ryan's cash on hand.
Zerban's communications director, Karthik Ganapathy, said he wasn't worried about the disparity.
"Our grass-roots campaign, powered by the support of more than 14,000 individual donors, is knocking on doors, making phone calls and gaining ground each day," he said. "Come November, we'll have the resources we need to win."
Bachmann is running against Democratic hotelier Jim Graves, who is also at a financial disadvantage. He recently loaned his campaign another $150,000, after previously giving his campaign $100,000.
Graves' campaign carried about $405,000 in cash into July.
Although Bachmann has proven to be a prodigious fundraiser, she also is dealing with deep debt from her unsuccessful bid for president.
Center for Responsive Politics: http://www.opensecrets.org
Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com