High end donors wishing to support the expected candidacy of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in 2016 are being asked to hold off from making donations larger than $1 million during this quarter in a bid to stave off any suggestions that Bush is in the pocket of the wealthy.
According to The Washington Post
, Bush advisers are concerned that accepting huge sums at this stage in the cycle could give Bush the wrong image. At the same time, the aim is also to develop a broad base of donors which might otherwise be undermined if just a few of the super wealthy are seen as the backbone of the campaign operation.
"This campaign is about much more than money," Howard Leach, a veteran Republican fundraiser who recently co-hosted a finance event for Bush in Palm Beach, Florida, told the Post, confirming the $1 million limit. "They need substantial funds, but they don't want the focus to be on money."
Bush is already on track to raise tens of millions of dollars by the end of the month for two political action committees
, according to the Post. His possible rivals acknowledge that he is the front-runner in fundraising.
While the restriction is in place for the first 100 days, many large scale donors will likely ratchet up their giving after that with subsequent donations once the campaign is in full swing.
Bush has pursued an aggressive fundraising schedule over the last three months, with events with major donors across the country, and has a significant number of events on the calendar in the coming weeks.
Throughout the push, Bush aides are trying to ensure that mega-donors do not dominate during the effort.
"It shows they are disciplined and appreciate that the dominance of a few key people early on is not a productive thing for the campaign or for Jeb Bush," one fundraiser in Washington who is familiar with the strategy told the Post.
Bush is focusing on establishing a wide pool of donors, some giving at the $100,000 level even though there are numerous people who have already given $1 million.
"They didn't need to be persuaded," Leach told the Post. "The reason people are willing to write checks like that is because they feel this election is so important to the future of this country."
Democrats disenchanted with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have also given large amounts, according to the Post.
The eagerness to donate to Bush is evident from the tiers of donations the Bush team has set out, starting at $50,000 and going up to $500,000 for some fundraisers.
Already, Bush's fundraising looks to outpace a super PAC that backed 2012 nominee Mitt Romney during his first six months as a candidate, the Post noted.
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