NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Republican front-runner Mitt Romney raised $24 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, bumping his yearly total to $56 million, the former Massachusetts governor's campaign said. The fourth quarter was Romney's best fundraising period in the 2012 election cycle as it beat the $18 million and $14 million raised in the second and third quarters, respectively.
"In order to defeat President Obama in November, we will need this continued strong showing of support," said Spencer Zwick, Romney's national finance chair. "Mitt Romney, the campaign, and his supporters will continue the hard work of reaching out to supporters and spreading Mitt Romney's pro-growth message to get our country on the right track again." Romney, who won Tuesday's New Hampshire primary by a wide margin becoming the first non-incumbent Republican to be victorious there and in the Iowa caucuses, reported that he had $19 million in cash on hand. Romney heads to South Carolina this week to canvass the state as the next primary on the GOP schedule could likely be his toughest test to date. -- Written by Joe Deaux in New York. >Contact by Email. >Follow Joe Deaux on Twitter. Subscribe on Facebook.