Carly Fiorina Raises $6.8 Million, Edges Marco Rubio

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina speaks to voters during a town hall meeting at the Ocean Reef Convention Center September 22, 2015 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Fiorina is a former Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett-Packard and currently chairs the non-profit philanthropic organization Good360. (Photo by
Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Carly Fiorina capitalized on her strong first debate performance, raising $6.8 million in the third quarter. Her impressive total beat out Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, long considered a formidable candidate by Republican party insiders. Rubio’s fundraising disappointed in the July-September period, raising just $6 million.

Fiorina’s fundraising total puts her in the middle of the GOP field of candidates, a significant gain for a candidate who, until the second GOP debate, was struggling for attention in a large field of candidates. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who, like Rubio, has long been considered a potential Republican nominee, raised just $2.5 million in the quarter.

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who has held the number two spot in countless polls over the summer, raised an impressive $20 million. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who has posted strong fundraising numbers throughout the campaign, raised $12.2 million.

Jeb Bush still hasn’t reported any fundraising numbers for the third quarter, which are due to be filed with the FEC on Thursday. Bush’s poll numbers fell throughout the summer and political observers are eager to see if his fundraising also suffered. His campaign raised a modest $11 million in the second quarter, a total he needs to at least match to allay concerns about his campaign.

Fiorina’s campaign reported that it had spent $2.2 million over the summer, indicated that her spending was just a third of the total raised. Based on numbers Rubio’s campaign released, he spent most of what he raised in the third quarter. His campaign reported that he ended the quarter with $11 million in the bank. Rubio had $10 million in the bank at the end of the second quarter, so his campaign spent $5 million of the $6 million he raised.

Carson has had the strongest fundraising to date for the campaign, raising just over $30 million for his campaign. Cruz’s individual campaign has raised just over $27 million. Rubio has raised around $18 million and Paul just under $10 million. With her solid fundraising in the latest quarter, Fiorina has raised around $9 million for her campaign so far.

Specific details on all the candidates’ fundraising will be available at the end of the week. The amount of cash-on-hand at this point is critical as many spending decisions loom for early voting states Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Over the next several weeks, many candidates will fade as their fundraising fails to live up to their own ambitions. With so many well-funded candidates heading into the first rounds of voting, long-shot candidates with weak fundraising will quickly drop from the headlines.

Fiorina’s solid fundraising suggests she will still be in the hunt for the nomination when voting begins in four months. Pressure on establishment candidates like Rubio and Bush will increase as they struggle to translate insider support to actual voter support.