Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign has raised more than $14 million since the Texas senator launched his bid for the Republican presidential nomination just over three months ago, his campaign said Sunday.
The money comes from more than 120,000 donors who made an average contribution of $81. Some donors gave more than once.
Presidential candidates are required to report detailed fundraising figures though the end of June to the Federal Election Commission by mid-July, but Cruz is among a handful of contenders who have announced overall totals ahead of the disclosure date.
Republican Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and political novice, will report having raised $8.3 million for his presidential candidacy, his campaign said on Wednesday. On the Democratic side, front runner Hillary Rodham Clinton will report having raised $45 million.
Cruz was the first major Republican to wade into the GOP primary, which will soon have 16 formally declared candidates. After his March 23 announcement at Liberty University in Virginia, his campaign raised just over $4 million in the final week of that month. Since then, he’s collected another $10 million, his campaign said. Cruz also transferred $250,000 from his Senate campaign to his presidential campaign, according to documents filed with the FEC.
“The grassroots energy and support we are seeing is overwhelming,” Cruz said in a statement.
Cruz also will benefit from several super PACs that are supporting him and can raise money without contribution limits. Those groups have previously said they have raised $37 million.
Presidential campaigns must report their fundraising details to federal regulators by July 15. Outside groups such as super PACs have a later deadline.
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign said Wednesday it has raised $45 million since its launch in mid-April, with the vast majority of its donors having given less than $100.
But while Clinton’s aides touted their success with such small-dollar donors, the leading Democrat in the 2016 race also pulled in a large chunk of campaign cash from donors who are giving her the maximum allowed by law.
Clinton is among the more than a dozen White House hopefuls to declare their 2016 ambitions in the past three months, and Tuesday was the last day for their campaigns to collect donations that must be reported to federal regulators by July 15.
Along with Republican Ben Carson, whose campaign said it had raised $8.3 million, Clinton offered a preview Wednesday of what she’ll disclose in the formal recording of who donated to her campaign in the past three months.
The campaign of the former first lady did so by bragging about the number of its small-dollar donors and saying she is on track to break the previous record for primary money raised in a candidate’s first fundraising quarter, set by President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign in 2011 at $41.9 million.
“Thank you so much for being part of this campaign. I’m grateful for all you’ve done and excited for what comes next,” Clinton wrote in a handwritten message, a photo of which was posted on Twitter.
Clinton’s haul — a total more akin to an amount raised by an incumbent than a candidate seeking the office — is an unquestioned show of strength. She’s already using some of that money to build the kind of national organization needed to compete in the general election, having placed organizers in all 50 states and the U.S. territories — including deeply Democratic states such as Connecticut and Minnesota.
The campaign released few details beyond its overall fundraising total. It must disclose the identities of donors who have given at least $200, plus information about how it has spent the money, in the report due in a few weeks to the Federal Election Commission.
But John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, said on Twitter that 91 percent of all of Clinton’s donations were for $100 or less.
“Many people doubted whether we could build an organization powered by so many grassroots supporters,” campaign manager Robby Mook wrote in an email to supporters. “Today’s announcement proves them wrong.”
Left unsaid was how much the campaign has raised from donors asked to give the legal maximum of $2,700. In recent weeks, Clinton has traveled the country raising money at celebrity-studded events, exclusive gatherings in Hollywood estates and inside Manhattan penthouses.
Clinton has raised at least $19.5 million at 61 such fundraisers, an amount that makes up at least 43 percent of her fundraising total. That percentage is sure to be even higher, because The Associated Press used the most conservative ticket prices to her events to calculate the total raised at each.
Clinton will also benefit from a network of outside groups that don’t adhere to contribution limits. One of them, the super PAC Priorities USA Action, will report having raised about $15 million in the past three months. The group’s leaders anticipate raising far more than the $79 million it collected to help Obama in 2012.
The Clinton campaign’s emphasis on small-dollar donors isn’t unexpected. One of Clinton’s top challengers in the Democratic camp, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, has aggressively courted the party’s most liberal grassroots voters by running largely on a platform of reducing income inequality.
During her 2008 presidential campaign, Clinton raised $36 million in the first quarter. At that time, she collected checks for both the primary contest and general election, meaning donors could give up to $5,400. That general election money never became available to her.
This time, her campaign set a goal of raising $100 million in primary money by the end of the year and decided to fundraise only for the primary, meaning contributors can give no more than $2,700. If she becomes the Democratic nominee, she can return to those donors and ask for another $2,700.
Associated Press writer Ken Thomas contributed to this report.
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For the second time in two days, the Supreme Court struck at the heart of the Republican Party platform.
Yet the response to Friday’s ruling to give same-sex couples the right to marry was mild in comparison with the outrage that followed the high court’s decision Thursday to uphold President Barack Obama’s health care law. Friday’s ruling instead drew tepid responses from several Republicans who, in many cases, would like that issue to fade away.
The sharp contrast highlights the political challenges for a Republican Party searching for a winning playbook in 2016.
The GOP’s presidential class is ready to bet big their opposition to Obama’s health care law will resonate with voters. But facing a seismic shift in public opinion on gay marriage, several of the party’s most ambitious appear ready to turn the page on a social issue the GOP used for a generation to motivate its most passionate voters to turn out at the polls.
Perhaps no Republican presidential candidate better illustrated the contrast than former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who was ready with a fiery statement and a video, “This is not the end of the fight,” to decry the Supreme Court’s affirmation of the Affordable Care Act.
In a fundraising email, Bush warned that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton would offer “more of the same.” ”That is why I need you to make a one time-emergency contribution of $50, $25 or $10 to my campaign to ensure that NEVER happens.”
A day later, after the marriage ruling, Bush made no such fundraising pitch, offering only a one-paragraph statement. States should be allowed to make the decision, he said, adding, “I also believe that we should love our neighbor and respect others, including those making lifetime commitments.”
Polls show what’s motivating the temperance of some in the GOP: Americans are now more likely than not to support same-sex marriage, with some surveys showing as many as 6 in 10 in favor. The shift over 10 years has been dramatic. Polling by the Pew Research Center found support for same-sex marriage growing from 36 percent in 2005 to 57 percent in a poll conducted in May.
While most Republicans remain opposed to same-sex marriage, 59 percent of those between age 18 and 34 supported marriage rights for gay couples in Pew’s most recent poll.
To be sure, several Republicans running for president condemned the court’s same-sex marriage decision and pledged to continue to fight. “Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that,” said Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who entered the race this week.
“It doesn’t settle anything,” National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown said in an interview before the ruling, comparing the gay marriage decision to the landmark abortion decision Roe v. Wade. “It’s just like Roe. Do you think Roe settled the abortion debate?”
The anti-gay marriage organization has given each Republican presidential contender two weeks to return a signed pledge that, among other things locks candidates into supporting a constitutional amendment “that protects marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
Some members of the GOP field signaled their openness to that idea on Friday. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker called Friday’s ruling “a grave mistake” and said “the only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage.”
Still, several GOP candidates — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Bush among them — have said they would not support such an amendment. Rubio was also among those who tried to stake a middle ground on Friday.
“While I disagree with this decision, we live in a republic and must abide by the law,” Rubio said, echoing a statement by Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich, who is expected to enter the 2016 contest in the coming weeks. Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said, “The governor has always believed in the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, but our nation’s highest court has spoken and we must respect its decision.”
Unlike the marriage issue, Republican opposition to health care needs no qualifiers. The first paid advertisement in response to the court’s health care ruling came within an hour from Americans for Prosperity, a nonprofit advocacy group founded by billionaire energy executives Charles and David Koch.
“We’ve been fighting this law for six years, and we’re going to make sure it stays right on the front burner,” said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity. “We’ve always known repeal would be a long-term effort. We’ve never counted on the courts to do it for us. This law is fatally flawed and unpopular, so it makes perfect sense for candidates to keep talking about how it’s harming people.”
Associated Press News Survey Specialist Emily Swanson contributed to this report.
When Jeb Bush finally says on Monday that he’s running for president, he’ll begin the campaign with much to prove.
Back in December, the former Florida governor said he was exploring a 2016 run, an announcement that by itself had the power to kick off the campaign.
In the six months since, Bush probably has shattered a fundraising record as well as pioneering a new approach to White House campaigning. He has just completed a well-reviewed trip through Europe.
Supporters had hoped that this son of one president and brother of another would by now hold a commanding position in an unwieldy Republican field. Yet he has not broken away from the pack.
“I know that I’m going to have to go earn this,” Bush said this past week. “It’s a lot of work and I’m excited about the prospects of this. It’s a long haul. You start wherever you start, and you end a long way away from where we are today, so I just urge everybody to be a little more patient about this.”
Bush, 62, planned to make his candidacy official during a Monday afternoon speech and rally at Miami Dade College, the nation’s largest university.
He has failed to scare any potential rival from the race, except perhaps 2012 nominee Mitt Romney. He is unpopular among some of his party’s most passionate voters and little known beyond his home state despite the Bush name.
“I thought Jeb would take up all the oxygen,” said Ohio Gov. John Kasich. “He hasn’t.” Emboldened by Bush’s slow rise, Kasich acknowledged this weekend that he is stepping up preparations for a possible campaign.
Bush is one of 11 major Republicans in the hunt for the nomination. Kasich and a few others are still deciding whether to join a field that could end up just shy of 20.
But few among them entered the race with such a high expectations of success as did Bush. Those expectations have seemed a burden at times.
Take, for example, the question of whether Bush will report raising $100 million for his campaign in the first six months of the year. Lost amid the “will he or won’t he” is that Bush probably will have taken in far more than anyone else.
Romney said Saturday it would not surprise him to learn that Bush had scooped up twice that of all the other GOP candidates combined.
“By all appearances, he’s raised a lot of money,” Romney said, praising Bush’s “experienced and capable team.” ”At this stage, that’s a very important thing to do.”
Even if he does not reach the $100 million mark, Bush will have amassed more in six months than Romney and his allies at a super political action committee raised for the entire year before the 2012 election.
By contrast, a senior adviser to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, considered along with Bush among the few top-tier 2016 contenders, expects he will raise roughly $25 million through the end of June. The adviser spoke on the condition of anonymity to share internal fundraising details.
Romney’s former fundraising chief, Spencer Zwick, said despite Bush likely commanding lead in the fundraising race, it’s not clear how much of an advantage he will hold over the field.
“You don’t need $100 million to run a primary,” Zwick said. He suggested that multiple candidates would have the resources “to go the distance,” adding that “it doesn’t feel like anybody owns the dominant position.”
Bush took lots of questions this past week about a supposed shake-up at campaign headquarters, even though only one member of his senior team — who remains on Bush’s staff — was affected. The attention exasperated Bush: “It’s June, for crying out loud,” he told reporters while in Berlin. “We’ve got a long way to go.”
Still, Bush’s first six months back in politics since leaving the governor’s office in 2007 have been underwhelming at times.
His low-key speaking style often leaves something to be desired, particularly when compared with some opponents. He sometimes gets snippy during long campaign days. While detailed policy questions are often his strength, he struggled for several days last month to answer a predictable question about the war in Iraq that his brother, former President George W. Bush, waged.
“He would be an excellent president no doubt, but how far he can go in the process remains to be seen,” said John Rakolta Jr., the CEO of a Michigan construction company and a leading Romney donor.
In his speech Monday, Bush planned to make the case that those involved in creating Washington’s problems cannot fix them. The point is designed to jab the Republican senators — including political protégé in Florida, Marco Rubio — in the race.
Meanwhile, an allied super PAC fueled by Bush’s fundraising haul is developing an advertising strategy that will promote Bush’s record in Florida and attack his rivals.
Illinois-based businessman Todd Ricketts, a Walker supporter, said it’s far too early to draw any conclusions about Bush or the rest of the field.
“Once there’s a debate, we’ll have a clearer picture of who appears to be ready,” he said.
Associated Press writer Thomas Beaumont in Berlin contributed to this report.
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Govs. Scott Walker and Chris Christie said presidential rivals in the Senate don’t do anything. Sen. Marco Rubio denounced “old ways” in an indirect slap at older contenders. Sen. Lindsey Graham said his party may be going down a “death spiral” if it doesn’t embrace minority and younger voters.
In fighting for attention Friday at a luxury mountainside donor retreat convened by 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney, several 2016 contenders let loose some elbows at each other. Most did not name names, but Christie did.
“If you want to know how little they know,” he said of senators, “watch what Rand Paul has done the last two weeks.”
The existing and prospective presidential candidates employed some unusually blunt rhetoric in drawing contrasts with each other as they addressed the donors and activists.
Asked why senators seem to be popular as presidential candidates, Christie said, “Because they don’t have to do anything.”
“If you don’t have to do anything you can be as popular as you like because you can say anything,” the New Jersey governor went on. He then took his swing at Paul, the Kentucky senator who did not attend, for his tactics in the Senate that delayed and helped to reshape government surveillance programs.
Both Graham and another potential candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, said the eventual nominee must get on board with an immigration overhaul or risk losing the presidency.
“Nobody is going to vote for a party that’s going to break their family apart,” Graham said. The South Carolina senator said the party’s lost ground with minorities and younger voters means a “demographic death spiral.”
Kasich also urged Republicans to accommodate many of the immigrants who are living in the country illegally. “They’ve been God-fearing, hard-working people in many cases,” he said.
They were among the 2016 contenders pitching for the support of about 300 top political donors and strategists connected to Romney. Former technology executive Carly Fiorina is on Saturday’s schedule — after a morning skeet-shooting session led by Graham.
Even while calling for a civilized Republican debate, Walker charged that GOP senators seeking the White House haven’t accomplished anything in Washington.
He said his party’s 2016 presidential class should be divided into two groups. “There are fighters and there are winners,” the Wisconsin governor said, describing the fighters as the senators in the race.
“They have yet to win anything and accomplish anything.”
Rubio did not engage Walker but drew a sharp contrast between the older and younger crop of candidates.
“Yesterday is over,” the 44-year-old Florida senator declared, repeating a common theme designed to distinguish himself from leading Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Jeb Bush. “The old ways of doing things aren’t working anymore.”
“Some have said I should have waited my turn,” Rubio said. “I didn’t know there was a line.”
Bush was invited to Romney’s gathering, but was in Europe on Friday.
Romney’s invitation-only event gave the Republican contenders an opportunity to connect with leading donors and political operatives.
Some attendees started their day hiking with Romney and his wife at 6 a.m. Others played flag football with Rubio. Among other activities: a hot air balloon ride, outdoor yoga and horseback riding with Ann Romney.
Romney said Friday there were as many as eight Republican candidates who would be strong presidential nominees, and he promised to do everything he could to help his party reclaim the White House in 2016.
“I’m looking forward to playing what limited role a guy who lost can play in a presidential contest,” he said.
Some of the biggest donors and fundraisers in the Republican Party, still uncertain who should get their support in 2016, are sprinkling their money around a presidential field that grows by the day.
The largesse born of their indecision has a notable exception: Rand Paul.
The Kentucky senator has aggressively tried to raise money around his effort to curtail the surveillance powers of the National Security Agency, emailing supporters and posting messages on social media imploring people to “celebrate this victory” with their cash.
In doing so, he’s exacerbated the perception among some of the GOP’s most generous donors that his positions on foreign policy make him an unacceptable choice for the White House. This is especially so to those who consider an aggressive posture abroad and support for Israel paramount.
“I do not know of a single person in Mitt Romney’s donor network who will be with Rand Paul,” said Phil Rosen, a Manhattan attorney and top fundraiser for the 2012 Republican nominee. Rosen said he met with Paul and politely told him he wouldn’t be supporting him “because of his isolationist and libertarian policies.”
Rosen hasn’t settled on his choice in next year’s primary contest but expects to decide soon from a short list. Other prominent donors are doing the same, with some willing to give money to multiple candidates in the early stages of the campaign, but not to Paul.
Among them: Las Vegas casino owner Sheldon Adelson, New York hedge fund pioneer Michael Steinhardt and Ken Abramowitz, founder of a venture capital firm in New York. All three have given money to South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who announced his presidential campaign on Monday by saying he wants “to be president to defeat the enemies trying to kill us.”
Those donors, like many of the Republican Party’s biggest spenders, are looking for the strongest candidate on foreign policy, especially on the protection of Israel. That’s become the centerpiece of not only Graham’s campaign, but also is a featured aspect of the bids of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
“Graham in particular has a terrific record in Congress and is experienced and articulate,” said Steinhardt, who is also giving to former New York Gov. George Pataki and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
The weight of donor opposition to Paul hit his campaign soon after he launched it in April, when a politically active nonprofit, the Foundation for a Secure and Prosperous America, began a $1 million television advertising campaign against him in the four early primary states. The nonprofit can raise unlimited money and is not legally required to disclose its donors.
Several other groups are prepared to pounce on Paul if they sense he is gaining traction in the race. Among them is a group led by John Bolton, a former ambassador to the United Nations who recently decided against running himself, but plans to push for strong national security policies from the sidelines.
“I’ve spoken to well over 1,000 major Republican donors and can remember only one who agreed with Rand Paul on foreign policy,” Bolton said. “The views he represents are a tiny, tiny minority within the Republican Party.”
Unlike several of the other Republican candidates for president, Paul doesn’t have an obvious billionaire — or group of billionaires — backing his campaign, as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie does with Home Depot founder Ken Langone and Rubio does in car dealer
Campaigning in South Carolina last week, when he spoke about his fight against renewing the NSA’s authority to collect Americans’ phone records in bulk, Paul said he isn’t concerned about the big donors lining up against him. But he said he wouldn’t turn down their money.
“If you know some billionaires, and you want to send them our way, we’re happy to talk to them,” Paul said. “It’s more about votes than it is about dollars, and I think we’re going to have plenty of money to compete.”
Paul said he’s counting on small-dollar donations raised primarily online, the kind he’s tried to drum up during the debate that has resulted in at least the temporary suspension of the NSA’s authority to collect Americans’ calling records.
He’s attracted enthusiasm outside the usual Republican circles, particularly from college-aged voters with a distaste for military engagement and others who put civil liberties at the forefront of their concerns.
Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who isn’t aligned with any 2016 candidate, said what Paul lacks in traditional deep-pocketed donor enthusiasm, he could make up for in smaller contributors.
“He’s not going to have a traditional campaign because he’s not going to be a traditional candidate,” Luntz said. “That comes with advantages and disadvantages.”
Paul’s campaign said it raised more than $1 million online in his first 24 hours as a candidate, but wouldn’t say how much it has raised around the NSA issue. It will report on its finances next month.
Associated Press writers Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina, and Steve Peoples in Washington contributed to this report.
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