Romney reported raising almost $21 million in the first three months of 2007, The Los Angeles Times said. That does not include $2.35 million that he has lent his own campaign.
Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's campaign brought in $15 million, while Arizona Sen. John McCain trailed with $12.5 million. That could be a bad sign for McCain, whose campaign has failed to catch fire, the Times said.
"Clearly, Romney has surprised the field," said Anthony Corrado, a political scientist at Colby College in Maine. "Not only has he raised more money than the others, it is fair to say he raised substantially more."
Dan Schnur, who was part of McCain's staff in 2000, said that his fundraising would be impressive in a normal year.
"But this is not a normal year," he warned.
Candidates face far more early primaries and caucuses than they have in the past and have been raising record amounts for the campaign. McCain's kitty, while half what Sen. Hillary Clinton reported, is more than any candidate raised in any previous first quarter in the year before an election.