02/01/2012 06:29 EST | Updated 04/02/2012 05:12 EDT

Brian Topp, NDP Leadership Candidate, Tops In Raising Funds

OTTAWA - Brian Topp has raised the most money of any of the eight candidates vying to become the next leader of the federal NDP.

According to fourth quarter financial figures released by the party, the longtime backroom strategist raked in $156,597 from last October to the end of December.

The first to officially enter the race, Topp also raised $11,850 in September.

Montreal MP Thomas Mulcair was a relatively close second, raising $145,863.

Toronto MP Peggy Nash raised $108,223.

The other five pulled in less than $100,000 each.

Ottawa MP Paul Dewar raised $93,931; British Columbia MP Nathan Cullen pulled in $86,109; Nova Scotia pharmacist Martin Singh, $49,077; Quebec MP Romeo Saganash, $17,552 and Manitoba MP Niki Ashton, $10,215.

Nova Scotia MP Robert Chisholm, who pulled out of the race before Christmas, also raised $35,400.

The NDP has set a $500,000 spending limit for each candidate during the seven-month contest. None of the contenders has come close to raising that amount.

The party will choose a new leader on March 24 to succeed the late Jack Layton, who died of cancer last August.