Jeb Bush’s Money Juggernaut: $114 Million and Counting

The former Florida governor is crushing the field in fundraising.

AMHERST, NH - JULY 4: Republican Presidential candidate Jeb Bush participated in 4th of July Parade on July 4, 2015 in Amherst, New Hampshire. Bush is a front-runner in the polls for the 2016 presidential race with 14 other republican candidates.
Shane Goldmacher
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Shane Goldmacher
July 9, 2015, 10:50 a.m.

Jeb Bush raised $11.4 million in his first 16 days as a presidential candidate, and the super PAC he tirelessly fundraised for before he formally entered the race netted $103 million in the first six months of 2015.

The combined haul of the campaign and super PAC—$114 million—is likely double his closest competitor in the money race.

It appears Bush raised even more than what was disclosed on Thursday. That mammoth figure still doesn’t include a third political committee in Bush’s orbit, the Right to Rise PAC Inc. When Bush first announced last December that he was “actively” exploring a presidential run, he said he was forming a PAC to help promote “leaders, ideas and policies.” Neither the super PAC nor campaign responded to an inquiry about the other PAC’s fundraising figures in 2015.

The former Florida governor, as the son and brother of the last two Republican presidents, has long been expected to be the top fundraiser in the GOP field. His campaign team had downplayed talk of raising $100 million since the figure was first floated months ago, but in the end they blew past that figure by 14 percent.

Bush formally declared his candidacy in Miami on June 15 and raised an average of $710,000 per day for the rest of the month. To put his $11.4 million haul in perspective, it would require Bush to have raised the maximum donation of $2,700 in primary dollars from more than 4,200 donors—in 16 days.

His super PAC, Right to Rise USA, run by one of Bush’s longtime confidantes, is not constrained by contribution limits. Bush had roughly 500 donors contribute more than $25,000, according to figures released by his super PAC Thursday. Of the $103 million raised, the super PAC said that it had more than $98 million cash on hand.

Bush is gathering his top fundraisers at his family compound in Kennebunkport, Maine this week to thank them for their efforts.

“Jeb is encouraged and grateful for the tremendous early support and enthusiasm his candidacy has generated since he launched his campaign,” Bush’s national finance chairman Woody Johnson said in a statement.

Bush’s next closest competitor, in terms of a combined campaign and super PAC haul, is Sen. Ted Cruz, whose super PAC has claimed $37 million and whose campaign raised $14 million in the first half of 2015, for a total of $51 million.

A super PAC supporting Sen. Marco Rubio said it has raised $16 million, though Rubio has not revealed his fundraising figures. Advisers to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is expected to enter the race next, week, have been touting a $20 million figure for two pro-Walker political committees, including a supportive super PAC, in the first half of 2015.

Bush’s Right to Rise super PAC is using its financial advantage to begin what’s expected to be a months-long advertising blitz, with a $47,000 digital media buy targeting Hillary Clinton earlier this week, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

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