By STEVE PEOPLES
SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO (AP) — The long and increasingly messy Republican presidential contest is starting to hit Mitt Romney where it hurts most: his wallet.
There are new signs of financial stress in the Romney campaign, which has built a wide delegate lead with the help of a big bank account and an extensive paid operation.
But as Rick Santorum's recent success extends the nomination battle, the Romney campaign has scaled back expenses. It's trimmed field staff in some cases and has begun to rely more on free media coverage to reach voters.
This week, Romney spent two days privately courting donors in the New York area to replenish his campaign funds. Santorum and Newt Gingrich, meanwhile, were campaigning in the upcoming primary states of Illinois and Puerto Rico. (Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)