Donald Trump Needs to Improve Fundraising Tally: Will Donald Trump have enough cash on hand to run what might be a long, contested primary for the Republican nomination for president?
His official Federal Election Commission campaign finance report was released January 31. It showed mixed results for the former president with high expenses incurred for tapping donors.
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His main fundraising vehicle spent more than it took in for December of 2022.
Donald Trump: How Much Did He Raise?
The Save America Joint Fundraising Committee raised nearly $5 million between November 29 and December 31 and $9.5 million since November 15, which gives a glimpse into Trump’s fundraising prowess after he declared to run for a third time for president last year.
The problem is Trump was forced to spend heavily for the cash haul – an expense called customer acquisition cost in the business world – a term that the former president should be familiar with.
Big Spending to Tease Out the Donors
He spent money on staffing and fundraising “touches” to contact voters and ask for donations. His operation for texts alone to supporters cost $2.5 million. Online advertising set the committee back $1.7 million, and he spent $950,000 on fund raising lists taken from other sources. This resulted in the committee going into the red for the month.
‘Tis the Season for Giving?
The early days of a campaign run on the initial enthusiasm of donors who typically dig deep into their wallets. But December is often a difficult month for fundraising as voters are focused on what they need to spend during the holidays.
He Had Bigger Bucks Last Year
Currently the campaign has only $3 million cash on hand compared to the $19 million it had last year at this time. This total was helped by fundraising the president did before his announcement when he raised $15 million this fall. Donald Trump had been collecting substantial funds even after he left office in 2021.
Social Media Ads Are Coming
The real estate mogul and former television reality star is expected to ramp up funding appeals on Facebook and Instagram where he has been reinstated by parent company Meta. He may even take to Twitter where Trump has also been allowed back on the platform. Plus, he has over four million followers on his own social network – Truth Social – to tap.
Tap Into Diverse Donor Base
However, these appeals are expensive. It takes several touches that include snail mail, email, texts, online and social media ads, and other means to reach people. He will need low dollar donors who give under $250, deeper pocket donors who can give the maximum to his campaign, and wealthy givers who can write checks for even larger amounts to his Super PAC. MAGA Inc. has $54 million in the bank but must spend its funds on advertising and cannot coordinate with the campaign.
Nikki Hailey Ready for a Fight
It looks like Trump will have competition soon. One former member of his administration is reportedly declaring for a presidential run in the next two weeks. Ex-Ambassador to the United Nations and former Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley is a White House hopeful who once said she wouldn’t run if Donald Trump did.
Hailey has fundraising lists too and will need to prove her ability to raise at the national level.
South Carolina Will Be Contested
Hailey could have an edge in the Palmetto State even though Senator Lindsey Graham and Governor Henry McMaster have declared their support for Trump.
Plus, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott is eyeing a run that would cut into Haley’s fundraising efforts and support.
Trump Camp Says He Is a Fundraising Juggernaut
The Trump campaign put some positive spin on the fundraising report. Campaign spokesman Steve Cheung said Donald Trump is an “unstoppable force that continues to dominate politics” and that the former president has a “second-to-none operation.”
Still, Trump needs to pick up the pace even though he is a front runner in some January polls. Overall, Trump did not have a completely bad quarter, but the expenses were high for the campaign that will be headquartered in West Palm Beach, Florida.
This is an area with a high concentration of wealthy people who would be able to take a short car ride to Mar-a-Lago for an in-person fundraising event and write big checks.
Donald Trump needs all the fundraising support he can find.
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Author Expertise and Experience: Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.