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THE RACE: Despite big early field of GOP candidates, only 2 took federal matching cash
Only two presidential candidates have sought and received federal matching campaign funds this election cycle, and they're hardly household names.
One is former Louisiana congressman and Gov. Charles "Buddy" Roemer, who called it quits late last week "after 17 months of a wonderful campaign."
"The lack of ballot access in all 50 states makes the quest impossible," he said. A onetime Democrat, Roemer first ran as a Republican and more recently wanted to be the nominee of Americans Elect. But the group decided not to field a candidate.
It was hard to know he was running. He didn't appear in any of the 20 nationally televised GOP presidential debates. But he was busy on Twitter, with 85 tweets on a single recent day.
The other recipient was former Republican New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, 59, running now as the Libertarian Party nominee. He did manage to get into one GOP debate before switching.
Roemer, 68, received $285,479 from U.S. taxpayers. "We assumed no debt and we end this campaign with money in the bank," he said in a statement. "We ran like we intended to serve."
President Barack Obama didn't face serious Democratic challenge and has declined federal financing to avoid the spending limits attached, as he did in 2008.
Republican Mitt Romney, one of the richest presidential candidates ever, is likewise expected to turn down federal help.
Johnson recently received a $100,000 installment after applying for $146,603 in matching funds, according to the Federal Election Commission.
As a two-term governor, Johnson adhered to an anti-tax and anti-bureaucracy agenda and set a national record by vetoing 200 bills. He once climbed Mount Everest.
Obama was flying Monday to New York for several fundraisers with Former President Bill Clinton. Romney was raising money in the Pacific Northwest.
Follow Tom Raum on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tomraum. For more AP political coverage, look for the 2012 Presidential Race in AP Mobile's Big Stories section. Also follow https://twitter.com/APCampaign and AP journalists covering the campaign: https://twitter.com/AP/ap-campaign-2012