After news broke earlier this month that the presidential campaign of former Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) had suspended staff pay, the campaign launched several fundraising efforts. Breitbart News has learned that those efforts are starting to pay off, but whether the Perry’s poll numbers will see any corresponding rise remains to be seen.
As Breitbart News reported, the day after the first GOP debate, Perry’s staff were told that the campaign was short on funds and they would have to freeze pay so that they could devote resources to maintaining Perry’s busy travel schedule through the early primary states. One staffer left for financial reasons, but so far the rest have stayed on.
What is keeping Perry’s hopes alive is several million dollars raised by the Super PACs supporting him. SuperPACs can take in unlimited contributions but cannot communicate with the candidate they support once the campaign has officially begun. Perry’s PACs cannot pay his staff salaries, or hire them directly — there is a waiting period for anyone to move from a campaign to a PAC for the same candidate — but they can run their own ground game and get-out-the-vote activities, as well as buying advertising to promote him.
Perry’s campaign raised a little more than $1 million during his first reporting period, and the Super PACs took in an additional $16.8 million. Austin Barbour, the PAC Senior Adviser, told Breitbart News last week that the PACs had about $14 to 15 million cash on hand, and a Perry supporter had sent them a $100,000 check after hearing the media reports.
After the senior campaign staff told the entire team about the campaign’s money woes, the next step was making phone calls to supporters and previous donors who had not yet donated the maximum amount allowed under federal law ($2,700 for individuals, or $5,400 for married couples).
Perry campaign manager Jeff Miller told Breitbart News last week that “a lot of checks” had come in the mail. Consultant Aaron Gardner and a group of Perry supporters also organized a online money bomb on Tuesday, which generated heavy traffic on Twitter. The #StandWithRick hashtag was a trending topic at various points during the day, and the donation link was clicked over 2,000 times.
— Aaron Gardner (@Aaron_RS) August 18, 2015
The campaign has not released specific numbers, but Miller did confirm this week that the campaign had enjoyed its “biggest week since June,” when Perry launched his campaign. Perry himself tweeted that Monday had been the “top fundraising day this month.”
Thanks for making yesterday our top fundraising day this month, help us finish August strong! Contribute today —–> http://t.co/39tFz0wbaP
— Rick Perry (@GovernorPerry) August 18, 2015
Doing some quick calculations from Perry’s last campaign finance report, the last week of June, Perry raised nearly $315,000. The two weeks prior, he raised about a quarter of a million dollars each of those weeks. Accordingly, Miller’s comment that the campaign had had their “biggest week since June” should mean that they raised several hundred thousand dollars.
There is still no word on when the campaign might be able to resume paying staff, or what fundraising threshold they want to meet first. Still, with the millions of dollars the PACs have to spend, and the campaign funds remaining sufficient to support Perry’s travel schedule, he should be able to sustain the campaign for several more months.
The goal clearly is to survive long enough to get to the early primary states, where Perry has been investing a lot of time. Perry has visited Iowa alone 20 times during this election cycle, and counting on his retail politicking skills to win over Iowa Republican voters. “He’s visiting the state almost weekly, and spends time speaking with every Iowan who approaches him,” reported KTRK.
And that brings us to Perry’s other numbers problem: the polls. In a crowded Republican field of seventeen candidates, Perry has been stuck in the bottom tier for several weeks. After missing the cutoff for the top tier for the first debate with Fox News, he delivered a solid performance in the earlier undercard debate, but was outshone by Carly Fiorina.
The next debate is set for September 16, at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, less than a month away. It is unlikely that any of the other Republican contenders will drop out before then, so if Perry is unable to raise his poll numbers high enough to make the top tier, he will have to hope he can give a standout performance like Fiorina’s spotlight stealing moments last time around.
Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter @rumpfshaker.