Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has been flirting with a 2012 presidential bid, and although few are taking her candidacy seriously, her fundraising figures are enough to give other hopefuls pause.
The tea party darling raised $2.2 million in the first quarter of 2011, according to her newly released Federal Election Commission filings. Of that total, $1.7 million came from her congressional committee, and $500,000 from her political action committee, according to a breakdown by the Star Tribune.
She outpaced even former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who's noted for his fundraising strengths and is viewed by many as the 2012 Republican frontrunner. He raked in $1.9 million in the first three months of this year.
Bachmann spend over half a million dollars raising all that money, as well as $5,000 on speech-writing consulting. More than half of her total, $1.2 million, came from at least 6,000 donors who gave less than $200. She received only one PAC donation, of $1,000, from TCF Bank.
According to her FEC filing, Bachmann currently has $2.8 million in hand that's transferable to a possible presidential campaign, a remarkable figure especially in a weak GOP field.
"I'm in for 2012," she told ABC News last month in Iowa, "in that I want to be a part of the conversation… But I haven’t made a decision yet to announce, obviously, if I'm a candidate or not, but I'm in for the conversation."
The previously low-profile Minnesota Republican has become a prominent figure in era of Obama and tea parties. She's adored by conservatives for her unwaveringly hard-right views and reviled by liberals for her unusually strong tendency to make inaccurate statements.