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The first quarter of 2011 has concluded and the top Republican fundraiser these first 3 months of the year was Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann. This comes somewhat as a surprise given that names such as Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich were unable to top Bachmann though they have spent more time gearing up for likely 2012 campaigns.

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Report from the Washington Post:

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) raised more than $2 million in political contributions over the first 90 days of 2011, she reported Friday — a sum that serves as a reminder of her fundraising prowess as the 2012 Republican presidential campaign enters a crucial early stage.

The Minnesota conservative raised $1.7 million for her congressional reelection fund and an additional $500,000 for her federal political action committee.

Her donation total slightly exceeds the $1.8 million former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney announced Thursday that he brought in via his Free and Strong America PAC in the first quarter. Candidates can transfer money from their personal campaign committee to a presidential account but not from a political action committee.

Bachmann’s strong first quarter showing comes on the heels of her raising $13.5 million for her 2010 campaign, by far the largest total compiled by any House challenger or incumbent for a single election.

The impressive first-quarter numbers give Bachmann and Romney a bit of a tailwind heading into the most crucial three-month period for presidential contenders to establish their financial bona fides.

Bachmann clearly has fundraising power among her base of dedicated supporters, however, the real test will be the next quarter when the other major candidates begin a fundraising blitz and begin seriously courting their donors.

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Nate Ashworth is the Founder and Senior Editor of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for almost a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016.

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