Small checks drive Michele Bachmann’s big bucks

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Republican Michele Bachmann is counting on legions of donors giving a few dollars at a time, over and over again, to carry her in the 2012 presidential race.

The Minnesota congresswoman formally launches her campaign Monday, but for many months she’s been stocking up on campaign money.

Bachmann has cultivated a devoted base of small yet repeated donors. Of her $13.5 million haul for her 2010 congressional race, more than half came from contributors giving less than $200.

But Bachmann also spends a lot to raise each dollar; almost half of her 2010 expenses related to fundraising.

Experts say it’s easier to control costs by soliciting major donors, those who reliably give at or near the maximum in every election cycle.