Santorum Crests Past $1M Money Bomb

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Rick Santorum had raised $1.2 million by Thursday morning since his surprising sweep of Tuesday's Republican primary contests.

Santorum's Web site displayed the number along with a huge banner of the GOP candidate that showed the four states he has won thus far in the race.

Rick Santorum

The campaign had already raised about $250,000 on Tuesday night alone, Santorum said Wednesday.

"I think last night we raised a quarter of a million dollars online," Santorum told CNN on Wednesday. "So we're doing really well, and we feel like going forward we're going to have the money we need to make the case we want to make."

Santorum's campaign has run on a shoestring budget for most of the 2012 GOP primary election cycle, yet he has managed to win four states (Iowa, Minnesota, Colorado and the "beauty contest" Missouri primary) and some 69 delegates.

Those numbers are good enough to place him squarely in second, behind front-runner Mitt Romney, who not too long ago likely expected to win the majority of delegates in Colorado and Minnesota.

Santorum's increase in fundraising after state primary and caucus victories also has made the candidate a direct target of fresh negative attacks from Romney's campaign.

Romney's camp emailed a couple of press releases to reporters Wednesday that called out Santorum for his supposed abuse of earmarks when he was in the U.S. Senate, and it continued with the slams early Thursday.

"Sen. Santorum, on the other hand, apparently never met an earmark he didn't like. The Washington politicians who got us into this mess can't possibly lead us out," Gail Gitcho, Romney's communications director, said in a Thursday statement.

"While Newt Gingrich may have opened the door to the abuse of earmark spending, Rick Santorum walked right through it," Andrea Saul, a Romney spokeswoman, said on Wednesday.

In another statement, Saul called Santorum a Washington insider that conservatives can't trust to fix the country's problems.

Santorum campaign sources said they were prepared for Romney to barrage their campaign for the next three weeks with attack ads, but those campaign sources also said they would simply move forward with ramping up organization in Arizona, Michigan and the crucial Super Tuesday states.

They can expect for the barrage to begin Thursday as Romney's campaign has scheduled a conference call with Romney backers Ken Miller, Oklahoma's state treasurer, and Gary Jones, the state's auditor, who would criticize Santorum's "long record on borrowing, spending and earmarking," the statement said.

-- Written by Joe Deaux in New York.

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