February was not a welcoming month for any of the Republican presidential primary candidates on the financial front, with all the leading candidates draining their coffers as they fought bruising primaries in Michigan and Ohio, among others.
Mitt Romney was the GOP's fundraising winner, bringing in $11.9 million in the month, leading the field. But his fundraising tally underscored just how costly the drawn-out primary cycle has been to his campaign. Romney spent more than he brought in -- $12.3 million - and ended the month with just $7.2 million cash-on-hand. His allied super PAC, Restore Our Future, also spent big to help Romney in key must-win contests, pouring $12.2 million into the races and beginning March with $10.5 million on-hand. For both Romney and his super PAC, they started the month with less in the bank than they spent in February.
At the beginning of the year, Romney and his super PAC reported $44 million in the bank; that's now dwindled to $17.9 million. That means that the Romney campaign and its allied outside groups, which was near fundraising parity in January with the Obama re-election team, has some catching up to do.
Rick Santorum had his best fundraising month, bringing in over $9 million. To be in the same ballpark as Romney financially is impressive. But he also spent most of his haul -- $7.8 million - and began March with $2.6 million cash-on-hand. That's why his campaign decided not to spend big bucks in Illinois, given the expensive cost and uphill battle. But even more worrisome is the financial standing of his allied Red, White and Blue super PAC, which only reported $365,000 on-hand, a pittance. Paging Foster Friess, who has to decide whether his friend is a good investment anymore after losing badly in Illinois.