GOP mega-donors sitting on their wallets until after convention

Fundraising by Republican presidential candidates in March was abysmal as GOP mega-donors have indicated they are fed up with the circus that the campaign has become.

The Hill:

Interviews with major Republican donors and fundraisers reveal that many are fed up after early enthusiasm for unsuccessful candidates. Many of these donors spent millions on the super-PACs supporting former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former favorites who dropped out of the race after getting throttled byDonald Trump.

Now, with Trump and Cruz the two likeliest nominees, a number of donors say they would rather sit it out and wait to see how the next two months play out in the lead up to the Republican National Convention before they open their checkbooks again.

“I have been called and asked for money, and I said, ‘Once we pick a nominee, then I will give money again,’ ” said Minnesota billionaire Stanley Hubbard, who gave an early $50,000 donation to a pro-Scott Walker super-PAC but has made no significant investment since.

“The problem is that nobody prefers either of those two candidates [Trump or Cruz], and the third candidate [Kasich] no one thinks he has a chance, so why waste your money?” Hubbard told The Hill.

Doug Deason, a multimillionaire Texas businessman whose family spent $5 million supporting Rick Perry and has now thrown $200,000 behind a Cruz super-PAC, said the feeling among his donor friends goes beyond exhaustion. 

He said many establishment donors believe their money has been wasted this cycle, with the only winners being the high-priced consultants who have gotten rich by charging commissions on ad buys.

Donors “are upset about how their money was spent and the bang they got for their buck. … They are suspicious, and rightfully so,” Deason told The Hill.

“Somebody should be indicted over Right to Rise,” he added, referring to the super-PAC that spent more than $100 million in a failed attempt to make Bush the Republican nominee.

“I would sue them for fraud.

What should worry GOP House and Senate campaigns is that these donors may choose to cut their losses and refrain from supporting Republican candidates in the fall.  These rich guys might not be the best judge of political talent, but they can read the polls.  If Donald Trump is the nominee, several GOP senators are going to go down to defeat – probably enough to flip the Senate.  Why should they throw hundreds of millions of dollars at a lost cause?

With recent redistricting, the GOP majority looks safe even with Trump at the top of the ticket.  But losses of up to 20 seats are not out of the question, making the 2018 midterms even more dangerous.

It's said that money is the mother's milk of politics.  There appears to be a real possibility that some funding sources that are critical to Republican success in the fall may not materialize.

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