A few weeks ago, Herman Cain said that he wasn’t worried about facing Mitt Romney, but he was worried about facing Mitt’s money. Today, Politico reports that Romney has a huge advantage over the other Republican candidates with a campaign war chest they can’t duplicate.

If his one-day fundraiser in May that brought in $10 million is any indication, Romney seems to be on target to raise nearly $40 million for the 2012 election and the primaries that precede it. The campaign is low-balling that figure by saying that he will only reach about $20 million, but even to me that seems low.

As Politico notes, Romney spent nearly $45 million of his own fortune in the 2008 election, more than most of the others. He still lost, it should be noted. In any case, this time he’s confident enough to say he won’t lend his campaign any of his own money.

Unlike Romney, Tim Pawlenty, one of the other top contenders, is finding cash to be a lot less plentiful. A recent Washington Post report revealed that some five of his top aides are working for little or no pay.

The news establishes with more certainty the emerging portrait of Pawlenty as struggling to keep up with the larger and better-funded operation of his main rival for the Republican presidential nomination, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

The Pawlenty campaign says they are looking to raise at least $5 million and that they’ve already hit the $2 million mark.

As to the rest, it isn’t likely that any of them have any more than a million or so cash on hand so far.

Naturally, they all assume that the money will flood in once they win the nomination. This assumption is not always a lock, though. McCain proved that one! While his coffers did fill after he won the nomination, he still didn’t have nearly enough to launch a full, nation-wide campaign and McCain’s campaign cash was dwarfed by Obama’s fundraising machine.

This all tends to support the idea that Romney is the GOP’s top candidate. At the very least, he’s the man to beat. Now, as mentioned above, having the most cash doesn’t guarantee a win in either the primaries or the general election, but it most certainly is a major indication of the capability to do so.

I’ve been saying it all year. Romney is the frontrunner. He’s one of only two that have a nation-wide organization (Pawlenty is the other one) and he’s the king of fundraising on the GOP side of the aisle. He is also the guy next in line. In the common practice of the GOP Romney is the it’s-his-turn guy.

Don’t be surprised if he becomes the GOPs choice to face Obama in 2012. He isn’t a lock, granted, but just don’t be surprised.