Only 3 Percent of Jeb Bush’s Campaign Cash Came From Small Donors

The Republican’s campaign is fueled mostly by big donors. The average size of a Bush donation: $926.

Republican Presidential candidate Jeb Bush greets supporters at a parade in Merrimack, New Hampshire.
National Journal
July 15, 2015, 1:23 p.m.

Jeb Bush is a fundraising powerhouse among the Republican Party’s biggest donors, but he is struggling among smaller donors. Of the $11.4 million his campaign raised during its first two weeks, only 3 percent came from donors who gave less than $200.

Small contributors gave Bush only $368,023, the campaign’s federal filings show. Donors who gave the legal maximum of $2,700 accounted for more than 80 percent of Bush’s total haul.

For comparison’s sake, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz raised $1.8 million from small donors during the first week of his campaign back in March, nearly half of his campaign’s total. And, on the Democratic side, Sen. Bernie Sanders said Wednesday that more than 76.5 percent of his fundraising ($10.5 million) came from small donors.

(RELATED: Mark Ruffalo, Ben & Jerry Among Bernie Sanders’ Donors)

Bush had 12,334 donors between June 15 and June 30, his campaign said. That means his average contribution was $926. The average Sanders contribution? $35.

The new figures will likely only further fuel the perception among conservative activists that Bush is a candidate of the wealthy GOP establishment who is unable or unlikely to connect with the grassroots. In fact, the $368,000 in small-donor fundraising is less than Bush himself spent on the campaign during the brief, 10-day period in early June when he was formally “testing the waters” for a campaign.

When the $103 million his super PAC has raised is factored in, Bush’s fundraising from small donors is almost surely less than the 3 percent he reported for the campaign itself on Wednesday, and likely well below 1 percent. The super PAC said last week that it had a total of 9,900 donors — which would mean its average donor contributed more than $10,000. The super PAC said roughly 500 of its donors gave $25,000 or more.

(RELATED: No, Jeb Bush Was Not Implying American Workers Are Lazy)

The new report does show Bush’s tremendous appeal among the moneyed class of donors. In a remarkable static, the most common denomination for a donor to Bush was the legal maximum of $2,700. More than 3,400 donors gave Bush a maximum-sized contribution.

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