Bush super-PAC eclipses $100M in six months

The main super-PAC supporting former Gov. Jeb Bush (Fla.) has raked in more than $103 million over the past six months, a historic figure that will likely dwarf the rest of the field.

The PAC announced the haul on its website on Thursday, noting that the group has more than $98,000,000 on hand. It's donations came from about 9,900 donors.

The news came just minutes after Bush's campaign announced it's official fundraising numbers: $11.4 million, an average of more than $700,000 for each day that he's been an official candidate.

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“Jeb is encouraged and grateful for the tremendous early support and enthusiasm his candidacy has generated since he launched his campaign,” Woody Johnson, Bush’s national finance chairman and owner of the New York Jets football team, said in a statement released by the campaign.

“We are confident our campaign will have the resources needed to get Jeb’s conservative record, message and vision for the future out to voters across the country.”

The super-PAC had reportedly set the lofty $100 million goal for the first three months of the year, according to Bloomberg, but later reports moved that timeline back to the first six months. But super-PAC officials had pushed back and said that reports were overblown.

While the top-line numbers from Bush’s campaign don’t blow his opponents out of the water, Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist, told The Hill that it’s a strong report considering he raised it in only a fraction of the time compared to other GOP candidates.

“Ideally, they would have liked to have been doing a million a day,” he told The Hill. “That number, as it is over 16 days, is a signal for insiders that he is going to haul in some serious money.”

Perceptions of Bush as a fundraising juggernaut have helped to shape the field from the beginning and the strong start bolsters his claim to one of the top candidates in the race.

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing for Bush despite his front-runner status. He drew criticism back in May for comments about the Iraq War, initially defending the invasion in retrospect before walking back those remarks.

And he’s currently receiving backlash from Democrats after saying that “people need to work longer hours” to help spur economic growth. Bush’s campaign has pushed back and said the governor was panning the Obama administration for policies that promote part-time jobs over full-time jobs.

But overall, he’s in a strong position.

Since he floated his name as a potential candidate back in December, Bush has been at the top of national polling.  He currently leads the RealClearPolitics average of recent polls, about 6 percentage points ahead of Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.). While Walker holds a steady lead over Bush in Iowa, Bush is  on top in New Hampshire.

While a slew of candidates and super-PACs are slated to announce their fundraising over the next few weeks, no one is expected to come close to Bush’s combined haul. It’s already more than twice that of Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) campaign and super-PAC coffers.

The donation totals are also important for his campaign’s unspoken pitch: that he’s the only candidate who will be able to compete with Democratic-frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s deep pockets.

Clinton shattered fundraising records with her $45 million haul, announced earlier this month. But she had 79 days to raise money between her announcement and the end of the quarter, which averages out to about $560,000 a day, lower than Bush’s average daily haul.

The Federal Election Commission's second fundraising quarter ended on June 30, so Bush only had 16 days after his announcement to raise money for his campaign, which by law caps individual donations at $2,700.

This story was updated at 4:07 p.m.