Friday, July 3, 2015

Republican field Races to Catch Up to Bush Fundraising

Cruz may be poised to claim No. 2 spot in crowded field
As the first big fundraising deadline of the 2016 White House contest approaches, the major Republican contenders are scrambling to secure the money needed to keep their political ambitions alive in a crowded and still growing field.
No one is likely to top former Florida governor Jeb Bush's fundraising even if he were to fall short of the $100 million target that his allies have predicted he will hit.
Aided by billionaire supporters, however, some of Bush's Republican rivals have begun to tout their big hauls ahead of Tuesday's deadline, which marks the end of the April-to-June fundraising quarter.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz may be best positioned to claim the No. 2 spot among Republicans. Cruz, a conservative firebrand who became the first major candidate to enter the race, said he has raised more than $40 million through his campaign and the super PACs supporting his candidacy.
"The Washington money isn't with us," the first-term senator told USA TODAY's Capital Download. "It comes from courageous conservatives all over the country."
Among the conservatives who have emerged as Cruz supporters: New York hedge-fund magnate Robert Mercer, whose name has surfaced as the major donor to a network of four pro-Cruz super PACs that raised more than $30 million in less than a week.
Super PACs can collect unlimited amounts, but federal law bars these groups from working closely with campaigns.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has not yet declared his candidacy, but the outside groups supporting his expected bid are close to achieving their goal of collecting $20 million by end of the fundraising deadline, according to a person familiar with the fundraising activity but who was not authorized to discuss the figures publicly.
Allies of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, meanwhile, expect a $10 million outlay by billionaire automobile dealer Norman Braman, one of the first-term senator's biggest financial backers. A nonprofit backing Rubio, the Conservative Solutions Project, already has begun spending money on his behalf.
The organization, which does not have to disclose its donors, began a $1 million advertising campaign Monday that highlights Rubio's opposition to a nuclear deal among the United States, Iran and five other countries.
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