Donald Trump’s campaign collected $4 million in the third quarter, roughly the same as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. The real difference, though, is that Trump’s campaign hasn’t conducted any fundraising efforts.
Almost all of that $4 million total is from “unsolicited” donations. People simply sent his campaign money without being asked for it.
Few stats better explain the topsy-turvy nature of this political season than that fact. Trump has repeatedly said that he wouldn’t be actively seeking donations from supporters to fuel his campaign. He has often implied that he is willing to spend money from his considerable personal fortune, but, to date, hasn’t had to open his checkbook very wide.
Donald Trump contributed $100,000 to the campaign in the third quarter. The more interesting fact, though, is that almost 75,000 people also sent his campaign money, with an average contribution of $50, without any fundraising outreach, solicitation, or even obvious way to do so.
The result is that Trump, without trying, raised far more than Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and was largely in-line with major challengers Rubio and businesswomen Carly Fiorina.
Trump has obviously altered the political landscape by maintaining a strong polling lead for over three months with very little campaign spending. He has not spent any money on advertising while others, especially Jeb Bush, have spent millions.
He also doesn’t seem to have spent a great deal on building a campaign organization, although that is likely to change in the coming weeks as voting gets near.
All other candidates for the GOP nomination have large campaign infrastructures. According to the most recent FEC filing, Jeb Bush’s campaign was spending more than $3.5 million each month during the Summer.
Donald Trump has spent the least amount of any of the major candidates. Through the entire campaign so far, Trump has spent just over $5 million total. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who lead some polls in the spring, spent over $7 million in his aborted 71-day campaign.
“While our original budget was substantially higher than the amount spent, good business practices and even better ideas and policy have made it unnecessary to have spent a larger sum,” Trump said in a release.
“To be number one in every poll, both state and national, and to have spent the least amount of dollars of any serious candidate is a testament to what I can do for America,” Trump continued. “This is what our country’s leaders should do for the United States— spend money wisely and win!”
How a candidate conducts their campaign, and spends their resources, says far more about them then statements on the stump.
Walker’s campaign arrogantly got far ahead of its actual support. Jeb has relied on family connections to fuel a very large and expensive organization. Rubio’s impressive turns on the debate stage has so far failed to ignite enthusiasm with voters. Cruz has stuck to a steady, consistent path that has turned in impressive fundraising numbers.
Whatever happens in the nomination fight, Trump has broken new ground in this political campaign. His support, though, may be even deeper and more enthusiastic than the polls suggest. If his campaign can raise $4 million without asking anyone for money, the mind reels to consider what he would raise if he did.