Trump campaign raises $51 million in June
Republicans are breathing a little easier this month. After raising a shockingly low $3.1 million in May, the Trump campaign rebounded smartly in June by hauling in $51 million – $26 million for his campaign and another $25 million raised jointly with the RNC.
During the same period, Hillary Clinton raised $68 million, with $40 million for her campaign and another $28 million raised jointly with the DNC.
In June of 2012, Mitt Romney raised more than $100 million.
"We just started our fundraising efforts in the last week of May and we are extremely pleased with the broad-based support in the last five weeks for the Trump Campaign and Trump Victory," the campaign said in a statement.
In June, Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, raised $68.5 million, including $40 million for her campaign and $28 million for the DNC and state victory funds. She began July with $44 million in cash on hand.
While Trump's June total far eclipsed the candidate's past hauls, Lisa Spies, a Republican fundraiser who worked for Mitt Romney in 2012 and raised money for Jeb Bush in the 2016 primary, said the dollar count was much lower than the $106 million that Romney, the party's standard-bearer in 2012, brought in during the same month four years ago.
"This is his low-hanging fruit, and it’s good, I’m not putting it down. But it needs to get much better than this quickly. He’s playing a game of catch-up right now," Spies said.
Clinton's fundraising advantage has allowed her to build a vastly larger campaign infrastructure.
Clinton already has extensive staff operations in the most important battleground states and has begun to run paid advertising. Trump has only a handful of staffers and has made no large television ad purchases.
Trump beat 16 rivals in the Republican presidential race, but his free-wheeling style and some of his campaign pledges, such as his plan to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, have long worried some in the party establishment and he has struggled to unify Republicans behind him.
Some Republican insiders are less than impressed with Trump's fundraising totals.
To begin with, Trump did not disclose how much money the campaign had in the bank to spend against Clinton as of June 30 (she had more than $44 million to spend against him.)
Second is the issue of low-hanging fruit and how that translated for Trump, both online and from major donors and bundlers who raised money for Trump's joint finance events with the Republican National Committee.
Trump financed his primary campaign with his own money from his personal coffers. He did not begin soliciting donations until late May.
That means that donors, both small and wealthy, were fresh and potentially eager to give, having not been exhausted or burned out by a series of previous "asks" for money during the past year.
From that standpoint, Trump raising $25 million from 22 events that, according to the campaign, stretched from late May through June 30, looks tepid.
That's especially the case since donors are permitted to give up to $449,400 to the joint fundraising committee established by the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee. In 2012, the Romney-RNC joint fundraising committee could only accept contributions of up to $75,800 per individual or $151,600 per couple.
"Twenty-two events raising $25 million? On the surface that looks pretty weak considering how much they can accept into the joint account," said a Republican fundraising strategist, who, like others, requested anonymity in order to speak candidly.
Will Hillary outspending Trump 3-1 in the general election campaign doom the candidate to defeat? Of course not. But it makes victory a damn sight harder to achieve. This is especially true since Clinton has dozens of offices already set up in battleground states engaged in identifying their voters and maintaining contact with them so that on election day, they can be guided to the polls. It's this sort of nitty-gritty politics that Trump either doesn't understand or has decided isn't worth the effort.
Free media is fine as far as it goes. But it takes a mountain of cash to compete with Hillary Clinton at the grassroots level, and Trump simply isn't going to be able to raise it.