Trump fundraisers walk back goal of raising $1 billion for campaign

About a dozen members of Donald Trump's fundraising team told Politico they will fall far short of their goal in raising $1 billion for the general election. 

In interviews, over a dozen major Republican Party donors and fundraisers who’ve signed on to help Trump raise money said they expected Trump to net only a fraction of his original $1 billion goal, perhaps netting less than a third of that.

Trump himself is already starting to distance himself from the $1 billion goal, telling Bloomberg News that he doesn’t need that much to win. But his refusal to commit to raise even half of that reflects reluctance among the GOP’s benefactors to collect cash on his behalf. Many of them say he might have trouble raising even $300 million.

That would almost certainly leave Trump at a steep disadvantage: Clinton is widely expected to hit the $1 billion mark, as President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney did in 2012. And it could have serious ripple-effects, leaving Republican down-ballot candidates, who are dependent on the national party to mount a well-funded turnout operation, in the lurch.

The dire predictions come as Trump and his top fundraisers prepare to meet Thursday in New York City to discuss the path forward. One person who plans on attending said a number of topics were likely to be on the agenda, including scheduling and overall goals. The gathering is expected to bring together many of those who’ve signed on to help a joint Trump and Republican National Committee.

But Trump dismissed the notion that he needs a billion dollars or anything close to it to be competitive in November.

Bloomberg:

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump distanced himself from his own fundraising estimate of $1 billion, refusing to commit to collecting even half that amount, and saying his campaign didn't need much money to win the White House.

Trump, who has held just two major fundraising events since agreeing three weeks ago to help the party raise cash, said he would rely instead more on his own star power as a former reality-TV personality to earn free media, and has no specific goals for how much money his campaign needs.

"There’s no reason to raise that," Trump said about raising $1 billion. "I just don’t think I need nearly as much money as other people need because I get so much publicity. I get so many invitations to be on television. I get so many interviews, if I want them."

During the primaries, Trump was all over the nets, getting tens of millions of dollars in free media exposure.  So his claim that he will continue to be a huge draw for TV is probably correct.

But the general election campaign is an entirely different matter.  While there is not "fairness doctrine" per se, networks will be conscious of how much air time they give the respective candidates.  In the primaries, it wasn't an issue, although most Republican candidates complained bitterly about the coverage.  But does anyone believe that Hillary Clinton's campaign wouldn't scream bloody murder if Trump got the overwhelming amount of coverage that he got in the primaries?

Trump has outsourced his ground game to the Republican National Committee.  But they still need tens of millions of dollars to compete with Hillary Clinton's massive effort.  Also, funding and staffing 50 state offices and a couple of dozen regional offices within many of those states is ruinously expensive.  Can it all be done by raising only one third of what Clinton is raising?

A national campaign can be seen as a big business and undercapitalizing the company ends up getting the same results in politics that would happen in the private sector: failure.

About a dozen members of Donald Trump's fundraising team told Politico they will fall far short of their goal in raising $1 billion for the general election. 

In interviews, over a dozen major Republican Party donors and fundraisers who’ve signed on to help Trump raise money said they expected Trump to net only a fraction of his original $1 billion goal, perhaps netting less than a third of that.

Trump himself is already starting to distance himself from the $1 billion goal, telling Bloomberg News that he doesn’t need that much to win. But his refusal to commit to raise even half of that reflects reluctance among the GOP’s benefactors to collect cash on his behalf. Many of them say he might have trouble raising even $300 million.

That would almost certainly leave Trump at a steep disadvantage: Clinton is widely expected to hit the $1 billion mark, as President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney did in 2012. And it could have serious ripple-effects, leaving Republican down-ballot candidates, who are dependent on the national party to mount a well-funded turnout operation, in the lurch.

The dire predictions come as Trump and his top fundraisers prepare to meet Thursday in New York City to discuss the path forward. One person who plans on attending said a number of topics were likely to be on the agenda, including scheduling and overall goals. The gathering is expected to bring together many of those who’ve signed on to help a joint Trump and Republican National Committee.

But Trump dismissed the notion that he needs a billion dollars or anything close to it to be competitive in November.

Bloomberg:

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump distanced himself from his own fundraising estimate of $1 billion, refusing to commit to collecting even half that amount, and saying his campaign didn't need much money to win the White House.

Trump, who has held just two major fundraising events since agreeing three weeks ago to help the party raise cash, said he would rely instead more on his own star power as a former reality-TV personality to earn free media, and has no specific goals for how much money his campaign needs.

"There’s no reason to raise that," Trump said about raising $1 billion. "I just don’t think I need nearly as much money as other people need because I get so much publicity. I get so many invitations to be on television. I get so many interviews, if I want them."

During the primaries, Trump was all over the nets, getting tens of millions of dollars in free media exposure.  So his claim that he will continue to be a huge draw for TV is probably correct.

But the general election campaign is an entirely different matter.  While there is not "fairness doctrine" per se, networks will be conscious of how much air time they give the respective candidates.  In the primaries, it wasn't an issue, although most Republican candidates complained bitterly about the coverage.  But does anyone believe that Hillary Clinton's campaign wouldn't scream bloody murder if Trump got the overwhelming amount of coverage that he got in the primaries?

Trump has outsourced his ground game to the Republican National Committee.  But they still need tens of millions of dollars to compete with Hillary Clinton's massive effort.  Also, funding and staffing 50 state offices and a couple of dozen regional offices within many of those states is ruinously expensive.  Can it all be done by raising only one third of what Clinton is raising?

A national campaign can be seen as a big business and undercapitalizing the company ends up getting the same results in politics that would happen in the private sector: failure.