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
Shane Goldmacher
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Shane Goldmacher
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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