Santorum Debt Under $1 Million After Leaving Presidential Trail

Photograph by Stephanie Strasburg/The New York Times via Redux

Rick Santorum in Mars, Pennsylvania on April 3, 2012.

Just about a week off the trail, Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign is less than $1 million in debt, senior adviser John Brabender says.

In fact, Santorum had one of his best fundraising days ever two days after he announced his decision April 10 to quit the Republican primary, Brabender says. The former candidate has been emailing supporters every few days and holding teleconferences to ask for help in retiring debt.

“We feel good that in short order we’ll be able to wrap things up,” Brabender says. Santorum and the still-active 2012 presidential candidates will file federal reports tomorrow that reflect their finances through the end of March.

Santorum appears to excel at the unpleasant business of ending a presidential run. It can take years to rein in the sprawling apparatus of a campaign. In the eyes of the Federal Election Commision, 38 candidates are still active — from races dating to 1996.

The defunct 2012 Republicans are, as a whole, faring better at debt retirement than previous candidate fields, a review of FEC records shows.

Texas Governor Rick Perry has enough leftover money that he’s sought — and received — FEC permission to transfer hundreds of thousands of dollars to a super-PAC he wants to form. Pizza mogul Herman Cain owes just $450,000 — to himself. Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann has more than $1 million in debt, but had to pivot to raising money for her congressional race. She’ll have no trouble with the final fundraising, campaign aide Chase Kroll predicts.

Newt Gingrich, still on the trail, could be on shakier ground once his presidential effort concludes. He says he’s about $4.5 million in the hole so far.

Looking back to 2008, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and John Edwards all have open FEC accounts for various reasons. Giuliani notches the most debt, at $2.6 million, including more than $1 million owed to himself.

Santorum’s unpaid vendors need not fear four years of unanswered invoices, Brabender says. He is in a unique position to judge that: Both Giuliani and Santorum have issued pricey IOUs to his media consulting firm.

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