Jeb Bush Money Juggernaut Blows an Axle

Jeb! Spencer Green AP

Jeb Bush, the one-time presumptive Republican nominee, is facing a very real money crunch. His campaign raised only $7 million in the last three months of last year. Fundraising for his once mammouth Right to Rise super PAC has also dried up.

Without a big surge in New Hampshire next week, Jeb’s campaign will come to an end very soon.

According to FEC reports, Jeb Bush’s campaign raised just $7 million in the 4th Quarter, the period encompassing October-December. This is less than half the amount raised by Marco Rubio ($14 million), Ted Cruz ($15 million), or Ben Carson ($20 million).

Jeb Bush also spent far more than he raised in the 4th Quarter. He spent almost $10 million in the final three months — a feature of his large, national campaign. His campaign only had $7.5 million in the bank at the end of 2015, a small amount, just as paid advertising takes on a larger role as voting begins.

Ted Cruz, by comparison, had $19 million cash on hand at the end of 2015.

Worse for Bush, though, is the dramatic drop in contributions to his super PAC, Right to Rise. At the beginning of the campaign, the super PAC announced a massive $103 million war chest, a show of fundraising muscle designed to scare away other potential candidates.

Since that initial funding haul, however, the super PAC raised only $15 million in the last half of 2015. Right to Rise spent just about half its total by the end of 2015. It reported around $58 million at the end of the year.

This amount has obviously been reduced considerably, as January witnessed enormous spending by the super PAC in both Iowa and New Hampshire, where advertising is particularly expensive.

Jeb’s fundraising prowess, combined with the extenstive donor network built up over the years by the Bush family, was supposed to ensure that he had the resources to compete deep into the primary season.

These latest reports, however, suggest his campaign may not survive past the second week of February.

Thirty years ago, the Coca-Cola company devoted tens of millions of dollars and all of its marketing expertise to sell the country on New Coke. It failed, because the public didn’t like the product.

All the money in the world can’t sell a product the public doesn’t want. The Jeb Bush campaign is yet another reminder of that old rule.


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