Trump’s gigantic advantage is also financial: 6 takeaways from the 2024 presentations | ET REALITY


Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign entered October with almost the same amount of cash on hand for the Republican primary as the rest of the contenders combined, underscoring the former president’s dominance as the race enters its critical final stretch before the Iowa caucuses in January.

The financial picture, presented in the campaigns’ quarterly fundraising and spending reports filed Sunday, shows how uphill Trump’s rivals are struggling, with some of them appearing to be hemorrhaging cash. Still, others showed signs of momentum.

Cash on hand is a vital measure of a campaign’s health at this point in the race, because the next three months will be expensive. Candidates must make an impression in the first states where voters will have a say: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. For many, that means more travel, advertising and events.

Among the starkest revelations from Sunday’s filings was the state of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign, which spent nearly every dollar it raised in the third quarter. Even after downsizing his campaign staff and running an aggressive fundraising campaign, his campaign entered October with unpaid bills and cash on hand barely larger than that of former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.

There were also warning signs for former Vice President Mike Pence, whose campaign appeared to be running dangerously short of cash, and for Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, whose campaign spent more than double what it raised, eating into the vast war chest. that I had. he had at the beginning of his campaign.

The filings offer only a partial view of candidates’ 2024 finances. Super PACs, which can raise and spend unlimited amounts, do not have to release their next reports until Jan. 31. Similarly, joint fundraising committees, which several of the candidates use as their primary fundraising platform, did not have to. present on Sunday.

Here are six takeaways from what the documents say about next year’s elections for president and Senate.

Trump’s campaign committee reported receiving $24.5 million in the third quarter, which includes July, August and September. The vast majority of that cash was transferred from a joint fundraising committee through which he primarily raises money.

The joint fundraising committee, Save America, was not required to file a quarterly report on Sunday, meaning detailed donor information was not available. Trump’s campaign has said it raised $45.5 million in total in the third quarter.

According to the fine print on Save America’s website, 10 percent of each contribution is sent to Trump’s super PAC, MAGA Inc., an entity that has in the past paid his legal bills.

The filing reported $37.5 million in cash on hand, of which the campaign said $36 million could be spent on the primary.

At first glance, DeSantis, Florida’s governor, appeared to have a decent quarter, raising $15 million between his campaign and a new joint fundraising committee, which filed a report in October alongside the campaign.

But his campaign reported only $5 million in cash on hand for the primary and listed more than $1 million in debts, which documents show are outstanding bills.

His campaign spent more than $11 million in the quarter, the documents showed, with significant sums spent on travel and transportation: At least $500,000 went to private aviation companies and $723,000 went to a limited liability company his campaign you have used to pay for your travel before.

Scott’s campaign, which entered the third quarter with more than $21 million in cash on hand (he had moved about $22 million from a Senate campaign fund when he entered the presidential race this year), reported raising 4 .6 million dollars.

His campaign began in October with $11.6 million in cash on hand for the primary, and he reported spending $12.4 million in the quarter, including $1.2 million on travel and at least $2.5 million on dollars spent on online advertising. (As in the previous quarter, the vast majority of his spending was directed through two limited liability companies, making it difficult to track the final destination of the funds.)

Some of the candidates (notably Nikki Haley, a former United Nations ambassador, and Christie) appeared to have gained fundraising momentum over the past three months and have increased their cash on hand by fundraising and executing efficient campaign operations.

Christie raised $3.8 million in the third quarter, more than double what she raised in the second quarter, possibly reflecting a boost from the two debates. Her campaign increased its total cash on hand from $1.5 million to $3.9 million, almost all of which will go toward the primary.

Haley’s campaign has said it raised $11 million across political committees it controls, including more than 40,000 new donors. Her campaign filing on Sunday showed that the campaign committee itself raised $8.24 million, including $1.7 million transferred from one of her other committees. The campaign spent $3.5 million in the quarter and entered October with $9.1 million that can be spent on the primary.

Pence’s campaign reported having only $1.2 million in cash on hand at the end of the third quarter, a surprisingly small figure that includes money the campaign can’t touch in the primary.

Pence’s campaign also reported debts of $620,000.

The former vice president reported raising $3.3 million in the third quarter, an improvement over the second quarter, when he raised $1.2 million, and most likely a reflection of his strong performance in the first debate.

But his campaign also spent nearly $3.3 million in the most recent quarter.

President Biden’s re-election campaign remains the best-funded political apparatus, raising far more than any of his potential Republican rivals.

While all expectations are that presidential campaigns will raise less in the third quarter of the year before the election (filled with summer vacations that are often a dead zone for big money) than in the second, Biden raised almost the same amount ($71.3). million) among his three fundraising vehicles, as he did in the second quarter ($72 million).

The Biden campaign will be pleased with its performance among donors who gave less than $200. Those donors, who gave $15 million in the third quarter, up from $10 million in the previous reporting period, are important because they serve as a key barometer of enthusiasm and because campaigns can turn to them again and again. again to ask for more. money.

Just as Biden’s aides and allies insist that his low poll numbers will improve once voters recognize that the general election will be a choice between him and Trump, there is an expectation within the campaign that the money spigot in line will accelerate to defeat Trump as he was once Biden became the Democratic nominee in 2020 (at this point in the 2020 campaign, he remains behind Trump’s pace).

Biden and his campaign have recently begun a deliberate shift (made in the final days before the end of the third quarter of fundraising, which was no coincidence) to frame the campaign as a contest between the current president and the previous one.

Democrats have a hostile map in the Senate in 2024, playing defense in several red states.

But in many of the Senate battlegrounds, Democrats appear to maintain a financial advantage, thanks in large part to the power of the incumbent.

Democratic senators hold seven of the eight chamber seats that both parties consider the most competitive this year, although Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan has said she is not seeking reelection and Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia has not announced his reelection. . plans.

The only battleground seat not held by a Democrat is in Arizona, represented by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, an independent who abandoned her Democratic affiliation last year. Sinema, who has not yet announced whether she will run for re-election, has $10.7 million in the bank after raising $375,000 last quarter.

That fundraising total was less than half of what he raised in the previous quarter and a fraction of the $2.9 million raised in the third quarter of the year by Rep. Ruben Gallego, the top Democrat in the race. Gallego has raised $10.7 million since he opened his campaign this year and has already spent much of that total, leaving him with about $5 million in the bank.

On the Republican side, Mark Lamb, the sheriff of Pinal County, Arizona, raised about half a million dollars and spent about the same amount. He has just over $300,000 on hand. Kari Lake, who lost her race for Arizona governor last year, opened her Senate campaign this month.

In Ohio, Senator Sherrod Brown has been one of the Democratic Party’s most prodigious fundraisers this year. His campaign raised $5.8 million last quarter, including transfers from other committees he controls, and now has $11.2 million in cash on hand.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, a Democrat seeking her third term, raised $3.1 million for her campaign and entered October with $6.9 million.

Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-Nevada, raised $2.1 million and has $8.8 million in the bank. Her closest Republican rival, Sam Brown, a retired Army captain, raised $1.1 million and has about $938,000 on hand.

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