Dr. Knute Buehler, the Bend orthopedic surgeon seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for Secretary of State, is showing an ability to pull in big campaign checks.

Last month, Buehler, a former Oregon State baseball player and Rhodes Scholar, seeded his campaign with a $30,000 loan. But recent filings show he's pulled in another $45,000 since then, including $10,000 from Kathryn Baker of Bend and three $5,000 checks. Most of the money has come from Bend-area donor and family members. But Buehler's filings also show he has hired leading GOP fundraiser Lori Hardwick, who last year helped another first-time candidate, Chris Dudley, the Republicans' 2010 candidate for governor, raise more than $10 million.

Incumbent Secretary of State Kate Brown, a Portland Democrat, has not yet cranked up her cash machine. Brown, a prodigious fundraiser in her previous role as Senate Majority Leader, has raised less than $9,000 this year and has only about $5,000 on hand. Her relaxed approach contrasts with the dialing for dollars by other statewide electeds: State Treasurer Ted Wheeler has raised $75,000 recently; and Attorney General John Kroger, who announced last week that he'll seek re-election, is sitting on about $330,000 with no opponent in sight.