Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is enjoying strong soft money support. Two Super PACs that back him have reportedly raised nearly $32 million.
According to a report by Marc Caputo at Politico, Conservative Solutions PAC announced on Wednesday that it had raised more than $16 million, and another similarly named nonprofit, Conservative Solutions Project, had raised $15.8 million and spent $3.3 million on a national ad buy that included cable, radio and digital. Together, the two groups have raised just under $31.9 million, with a total cash-on-hand of $28.5 million.
As Breitbart News reported, the Super PACs backing Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) have raised more than $37 million, and former Gov. Jeb Bush’s (R-FL) “Right to Rise” Super PACs are expected to announce eye-popping numbers, most likely some $100 million altogether. This places Rubio in third place behind these two, at least as far as outside fundraising is concerned.
Fundraising is crucial to the success of any political campaign, but especially so in the 2016 presidential race. With sixteen candidates already officially in the Republican primary, and Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), Gov. John Kasich (R-OH), and former Gov. Jim Gilmore (R-VA) all expected to join later this month, it is increasingly difficult for any candidate to get their message heard by the voters.
Campaign finance law allows these Super PACs to accept unlimited contributions, and Rubio is poised to continue this strong fundraising. Rubio is well-known for being a strong public speaker and debater; he shredded former Gov. Charlie Crist both in the 2010 Republican primary debates and then later in the general after Crist had fled the party to run as an independent. The upcoming debates could spark additional fundraising, Rubio allies told Politico, and Breitbart News has heard similar prognostications from Florida political observers.
Another advantage for Rubio: some of his deep-pocketed supporters still have the ability — and, most importantly, the willingness — to continue writing checks for him.
Oracle founder Larry Ellison, Miami auto dealer Norman Braman, and Dallas investment manager George Seay are backing Rubio. Also on Team Rubio is longtime GOP fundraiser Wayne Berman, who advised Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign and former Gov. Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign, and presumably is making use of those networks to fundraise for the Florida Senator.
Rubio is also reported to be on the short list of Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who dropped some $90 million on the 2012 race and is expected to make a similar effort this election cycle.
Rubio’s official campaign has not released its fundraising totals yet. Sources close to the campaign told Breitbart News that they would release numbers soon and expressed confidence that the campaign would have the resources needed to be competitive.
As of Thursday morning, Rubio is polling in fourth place in the Real Clear Politics Average, in a tight race behind Bush in first place, then Walker in second, and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson in third.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.