Tags: GOP2016 | Jeb Bush | Rick Perry | Ted Cruz | billionaires | million | donors

Small Donors Lose Stature to Billionaires in 2016 Fundraising

Image: Small Donors Lose Stature to Billionaires in 2016 Fundraising
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's super PACs have the highest percentage of donors giving $1 million of the presidential candidates, according to USA Today analysis. (Wire services)

By    |   Monday, 17 Aug 2015 02:04 PM

Massive donations from single donors to campaigns and super PACs are surpassing the role of smaller donors and campaign bundlers that candidates traditionally relied on.

According to USA Today, the trend is reshaping the nature of campaign fundraising, particularly since super PACs and outside groups can raise unlimited sums from corporations, individuals, and unions.

An analysis by the newspaper shows that donations of $1 million or more account for nearly half of the money given to candidate-aligned super PACs and other outside groups during the first six months of the 2016 race.

"The ability of billionaires to write huge checks does chill an already difficult" process, said Brian Ballard, a Florida lobbyist who is raising money for Jeb Bush's super PAC and for his campaign.

He called it, however, "the new reality, whether you like it or don't like it."

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's super PACs have the highest percentage of donors giving $1 million or more at 94.5 percent, according to the analysis by USA Today. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry comes in second with 85.8 percent. His faltering White House bid  is being propped up by super PACs even as funds to his campaign have dried up.

Bush, on the other hand, appears to have a broader base of support. Roughly 27 percent the $103 million raised by Right to Rise came from donors who gave $1 million or more.
"I don't think voters will like one or two people controlling the financing of a presidential campaign," Ballard told USA Today. "If there's just one sugar daddy behind a candidate, I can't imagine that person being elected."

But others disagree.

Austin Barbour, a top adviser to the pro-Perry super PACs, told USA Today that the reliance on high-end donors is unlikely to generate widespread opposition. Most voters, he said, are focused on "whether the candidates are genuine, what their records are and what they are saying about the future."

Fundraisers on both sides of the aisle insist that small donors and bundlers are not a thing of the past and are fundamental to building a campaign, USA Today said.

"The guy who writes the $500 check is an investor in a campaign, and he wants to do everything he can do to protect that investment," Barry Wynn, a former chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party and Bush supporter, told USA Today. "They will go to church, cocktail parties, the YMCA, their bridge clubs, and they are not going to be shy about promoting their candidate."

One longtime Democratic donor, meanwhile, insisted that money has its limits.

"It comes down to the candidate's message and the recruitment of volunteers," Marsha Laufer, who plans to host a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton next year, told USA Today. "The most effective vote-getter is person-to-person contact."

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Massive donations from single donors to campaigns and super PACs are surpassing the role of smaller donors and campaign bundlers that candidates traditionally relied on.
billionaires, million, donors, small, 2016
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2015-04-17
Monday, 17 Aug 2015 02:04 PM
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