Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz is already behind the eight ball when it comes to raising tens of millions of dollars to fund his Republican campaign for the White House.
Even though former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker have not formally announced they are entering in 2016, the front-runners are months ahead of the tea party firebrand in recruiting major donors, according to Politico
Bush is expected to raise as much as $100 million in the first quarter alone, while the Cruz camp has set a goal of between $40 million and $50 million for the entire primary season, which could be split between the campaign and a super PAC.
The hard-nosed Cruz is "not well-liked" with lobbyists looking to back the right candidate, while his inflexible policy positions and his leading role in the 2013 government shutdown will mean he faces some sledding to persuade wealthy donors to part with their cash, Politico reported.
"From the standpoint of the fundraising circuit I think it is going to be difficult for him to convince major donors that he is substantive enough to be able to avail himself of their largesse," said Joe Brettell, a Texas-based GOP operative.
"When it comes to what have you done for me lately, his greatest accomplishments in the eye of the conservative movement of shutting down the government aren’t going to hold a lot of water."
With his national aspirations seemingly his foremost interest, the senator may have turned off financiers and business leaders in the Lone Star State who would likely be needed to fund the bulk of the cash for his 18-month campaign in a crowded GOP field, the political news website reported.
"A criticism of Sen. Cruz has been that he has been more focused on the White House than serving the people of Texas," said Jenifer Sarver, a Texas-based consultant and former chief of staff to Karen Hughes, who served as counselor to President George W. Bush.
"His decision to announce a presidential bid two years into his term and make the announcement outside of Texas serves to amplify that impression for many."
But Jason Miller, a spokesman for Cruz’s campaign, insisted that the senator’s announcement at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, has "motivated conservative grass-roots donors and big donors alike."
Miller added, "We're energized by the early rush of donor activity and are very confident we can achieve our goals."
Cruz has burst out of the starting blocks by launching a 10-city fundraising tour, starting on Monday evening in New York City, where he was feted at a cocktail event hosted by philanthropist Rebekah Mercer, Politico reported.
The senator will also be appearing in New York City on Wednesday for a Young Professionals for Cruz get-together. And on March, 31, Cruz will be in his home state for a Houston event hoping to raise $750,000.
There will also be stops in Austin, Dallas, San Diego, Champaign in Illinois, and St. Clairsville in Ohio, noted Politico, adding that he will be hosted by such business luminaries as California venture capitalist Elliott Broidy, Texas investor Tom Hicks Jr., and Ohio energy executive Bob Murray.
But Stuart Roy, who worked for former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and ran former Sen. Rick Santorum's super PAC, says that Cruz faces some major fundraising hurdles, especially in Texas, where a large number of presidential hopefuls will be competing for cash, including former Gov. Rick Perry.
"He'll have a problem in terms of Texas money with Perry and he'll have a problem nationwide in terms of national money after that initial tranche of funds," Roy told Politico.
"There is no particular reason why the alternative candidate has to be Ted Cruz. There is a lot of money in Texas, but there’s also not a lot of dumb money people in Texas."
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