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Tags: GOP donors

Ted Cruz's 2016 Dilemma: 'Donor Class Is Rooting for Jeb Bush'

Ted Cruz's 2016 Dilemma: 'Donor Class Is Rooting for Jeb Bush'
(Mandel Ngan/AFP/ Getty Images; Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Tuesday, 02 December 2014 11:06 AM EST

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz faces a tough challenge raising the estimated $20 million needed to mount a serious presidential bid in 2016, especially if former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush joins the race, according to The Dallas Morning News.

The Republican senator is already building momentum for a White House run with frequent visits to the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire while also creating a campaign staff for his presumed candidacy.

But the newspaper’s Washington Bureau correspondent Todd J. Gillman says that while Cruz is a popular figure at conservative events, he’s only shown “modest success” as a fundraiser.

Although the GOP firebrand can expect a horde of cash to pour in from scores of small-dollar donors, he will have a difficult time getting wads of cash from wealthy donors and fund-raising specialists.

“Many major GOP donors and bundlers want nothing to do with a tea party agitator — particularly business interests dismayed by the federal-spending brinkmanship Cruz has advocated,” wrote Gillman. “That could limit his ability to elbow aside well-funded rivals.”

His opinion is backed up by Eytan Laor, who runs a political action committee that supported 100 conservative federal candidates this year.

“There are very few people I’ve seen inspire the grass roots like Ted Cruz,” Laor told the News, adding, “he has a rap on him from people who don’t know him — the government shutdown, not electable, etc. It’s an issue.”

Gillman pointed out that Cruz’s main problem lies in the fact that “the party’s donor class is rooting for Jeb Bush or, at the least, waiting to see whether he makes a move.”

And Ray Washburne, the national finance chairman of the Republican National Committee who wants to remain neutral in the race, agreed, saying that “the big elephant in the room is Jeb Bush.”

Washburne continued: “Donors are all waiting to see what Jeb’s move is. You don’t want to be the first mover to Ted Cruz or Rand Paul if Jeb ends up running. Everyone wants to get behind whoever they think is going to win.”

Washburne estimated that $10 million in campaign funds would be needed by the start of the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary in 2016 to be thought of as “a legitimate candidate,” although he says that $20 million would really get the ball rolling.

He also claimed that by the time the GOP presidential nominee is chosen around mid-April, the candidate should have raised $50 million to launch his or her campaign.

Despite Laor’s and Washburne’s misgivings about Cruz’s fundraising ability, the senator’s former Princeton roommate David Panton has created a super PAC called Stand for Principle that expects to gather “unlimited sums” to support a presidential candidate, according to the News.

“I would like him to run for president,” Panton said. “We need strong, moral principles and conservative leadership in America that I think Ted offers.”

And Maria Zack, a top aide in Newt Gingrich’s 2012 campaign who chairs Panton’s super PAC, said the group has set a target of $50 million in donations by March 2016.

“We are building a team,” she said. “I don’t think money will be an issue at all. He is brilliant and he inspires people and our phones will ring off the hook.”

Michael Needham, chief executive of Heritage Action for America and a strong supporter of Cruz, also scoffed at the notion that the senator would have trouble raking in the required cash for a presidential run.

“I know tons of people who would write checks to Ted Cruz, and that goes from the person who can give a one-dollar bill to people who can write much larger checks,” he told the Dallas Morning News. “Ted has inspired millions of people and will have the support to do whatever he wants to do next.”

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Politics
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz faces a tough challenge raising the estimated $20 million needed to mount a serious presidential bid in 2016, especially if former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush joins the race, according to the Dallas Morning News.
GOP donors
636
2014-06-02
Tuesday, 02 December 2014 11:06 AM
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