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Jeb Bush Fundraising Drop Raises New Worries

Jeb Bush’s campaign announced late Thursday that it had raised just $13.3 million in the 3rd quarter period from July to September.

The amount, which was about $7 million short of the GOP money leader, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, was a precipitous drop from his 2nd quarter fundraising.

Worse for Bush, however, is news that he spent around 86% of the dollars he raised for the quarter. At the end of the 2nd quarter, the Bush campaign reported just over $8 million in the bank. At the end of the 3rd quarter, the campaign’s account had only grown to $10 million. This indicates the campaign spent over $11 million over the summer, more than $3.5 million a month.

That is an unsustainable rate of spending if the campaign is going to begin an aggressive paid advertising effort ahead of voting in the early states.

Based on reports from other campaigns, moreover, it looks like the Bush campaign began October with the lowest cash balance. Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who raised more than $12 million in over the summer, has $13.5 million in the bank. Carson, who raised $20 million, has $11.5 million. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, whose fundraising trailed all the major candidates, has $11 million in the bank for the Fall.

Bush’s disappointing fundraising amount comes amidst a furious pace of events to raise dollars by the campaign. Bush, and members of his political dynasty family, headlined almost 60 major donor events during the 3rd quarter. Former Presidents George W. Bush headlined at least 3 events and George H. W. Bush did two.

The Bush campaign is continuing its breathtaking pace, scheduling at least 29 events, headlined by Jeb or his family in the month of October.

Jeb’s most serious problem, however, is his rate of spending. Despite spending far more money than any other candidates, Jeb has seen his position in the polls drop dramatically over the summer. He has given up at least half his previous support in the polls, in spite of lapping the field on spending.

As the other campaigns begin to spend the money they have accumulated over the last few months, Jeb’s money advantage will disappear. Jeb has significant resources in his affiliated super PAC, but that entity is limited in how it spends its funds and can’t coordinate with the campaign.

The Bush campaign simply spent too much money over the summer with nothing to show for it. If a campaign is sinking at a time its outspending its rivals, it is hard to see how it regains its footing when it no longer has a money advantage.

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