It's been a rough week for political newcomer Austin Beutner, who's a candidate in the 2013 race for L.A. mayor. First, his campaign team up and quit.

Now, it looks like he's having a hard time raising money. Beutner's campaign disclosed today that he raised just $222,000 in the second half of 2011 — a dramatic drop-off from his earlier fundraising pace. That total puts him in fourth place — well behind Councilwoman Jan Perry — not an impressive total for the guy who's supposed to be the Chamber of Commerce candidate.

In a press release, Beutner tried to turn disappointment into an advantage.

In the release, Beutner said the race is not about money, but about ideas.

“The very ritual of bragging about money raised by politicians from special interests they are supposed to oversee or regulate is one of the reasons why so little changes in our city,” Beutner said.

On Monday, Controller Wendy Greuel and Councilman Eric Garcetti each announced that they have raised about $1.1 million in total. Perry followed with $827,000 — of which $371,000 was raised in the second half of 2011.

Beutner's fundraising brings his total to $627,000. Beutner got off to a fast start in the spring, raising $405,000 in the first two months of the campaign — or about $37,000 per week. At the time, Beutner's campaign claimed to be “setting the pace” in fundraising. But in the second half of the year, that pace slowed to just $8,500 per week.

This is not to say that Beutner is doomed. A veteran of the private equity world, Beutner will be able to self-finance. But the report is a sign that the business community has yet to embrace him.

“Anyone who knows Austin knows his track record of accomplishment,” said Bret VandenBos, a campaign spokesman. “We will have the resources to get our message out.”

LA Weekly