Bush fundraising slows as his polls drop
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Presidential candidate Jeb Bush’s fundraising has declined from what some were calling “shock and awe” earlier in the year to what is now a slower, though steady, pace.

Releasing its latest campaign finance report on Thursday, the Bush campaign revealed it is raising money at a significantly slower pace than the previous quarter, in which supporters of the former Florida governor were raising cash at a rate of nearly $1 million a day. 


In the recent quarter, which covered the period from Jul.1 to Sept. 30, the Bush campaign raised $13.4 million, which is only slightly more than it raised in 15 days after his late entrance into the race during the previous quarter.  

Despite leaning on his famous family members — including both former presidents — to host fundraisers and bundler retreats, the Bush campaign’s money flow has slowed to $230,000 per day. This is still a significant amount, and is more than any other Republican besides retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, whose campaign raised more than $20 million. 

At the same stage in the 2012 presidential race, the eventual Republican nominee Mitt Romney had raised a total of $32.6 million and had $14.7 million cash on hand. Bush has raised $24.8 million to date and has $10.2 million cash on hand, according to spokeswoman Allie Brandenburger. 

In a memo sent to supporters, Bush’s campaign manager Danny Diaz described those funds as “particularly noteworthy given the depth of the current field.”   

“We knew from the start this was going to be a hard fought and close race, but few could have anticipated just how volatile this field would be,” Diaz said.   

The Bush team said in an email that it has “a database of approximately 260 million individuals with about 3,000 data points (e.g. hunting interest, magazine subscriptions, online habits, etc.).”  

“We also have more than 30,000 tags built off of previous identification efforts and have made hundreds of thousands of calls into early state voters,” the campaign added. 

The slowing rate of Bush fundraising came as the candidate’s poll numbers dropped significantly over the same period.

On Jul. 1, the first day of the recent fundraising quarter, Bush was the top polling Republican nationally, scoring 15 percent in the RealClearPolitics average. But on the final day of the quarter Bush had drifted to fifth place, at 9 percent and well behind front-runners Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Bob Woodward book will include details of 25 personal letters between Trump and Kim Jong Un On The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Biden commemorates anniversary of Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally: 'We are in a battle for the soul of our nation' MORE and Carson. 

Bush’s fundraising lags behind Democratic front-runner and establishment favorite Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden, Harris make first public appearance as running mates Trump campaign spox rips GOP congressman over rejection of QAnon conspiracy Biden hits back after Trump's attacks on Harris MORE, who raised $28 million in the recent quarter and has $32 million cash on hand. 

Clinton’s superior fundraising has allowed her campaign to invest millions more than Bush’s team in nationwide infrastructure, including sophisticated data operations and ground-game teams in early-voting states such as Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. 

The slower Bush cash flow is not due to a lack of effort. 

During the three months between Jul. 1 and Sept. 30, the Bush campaign held at least 58 fundraising events — a rate of nearly two out of every three days — according to leaked invitations and news reports. 

Bush has leaned on famous relatives and the formidable family donor network built over the past 30 years. 

During the recent fundraising quarter, president George W. Bush hosted at least two fundraisers on his brother’s behalf. Bush’s two sons, Jeb Jr. and George P., have also been raising money on their father’s behalf, and Bush’s parents, former president George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara, co-hosted a retreat for major donors and bundlers in July at the family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine.

While Bush’s campaign fundraising is less impressive than outsider rival Carson, and only slightly better than Texas Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzFiorina: Biden picking Harris for VP 'a smart choice' Russian news agency pushed video of Portland protestors burning a Bible: report After trillions in tax cuts for the rich, Republicans refuse to help struggling Americans MORE, the former Florida governor still wields an enormous advantage over his Republican rivals due to his well-funded super-PAC Right to Rise. 

Diaz noted the strength of Right to Rise — a group that is required by law to act independently from the campaign — in an email to journalists on Thursday. 

"The Right to Rise Super PAC has $33 million reserved for advertising in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina," Diaz wrote in the memo. 

"The only other committee with reservations that even approach that amount is Senator Rubio and The Associated Press recently reported that with his current cash on hand he ‘cannot afford the space he has reserved.’”  

But super-PACs have their limits. The $103 million that Right to Rise reported in its midyear accounts can be spent on Bush’s behalf in the form of TV advertising and other organizational tactics, but is forbidden by law from being spent on activities directly coordinated with the Bush campaign. 

This means that Bush’s independent super-PAC sponsors cannot spend that huge haul of money on essentials such as staff salaries within the Bush campaign, on communications authorized by the candidate or on Bush’s travel around the country. 

The Bush camp flagged recently that it was cutting back on expenses, and his supporters are hoping his team will heed the examples of failed candidates, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who proved that multimillion-dollar super-PACs are no substitute for well-funded campaigns.