Republican presidential candidate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush walks on stage to speak at the Road to Majority 2015 convention in Washington, D.C., June 19, 2015.
Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Jeb Bush: The $100 million man


The super political action committee backing Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush announced on Thursday that it hauled in a massive $103 million in the first half of the year. That’s on top of the former Florida governor’s 2016 campaign saying it raked in $11.4 million in the 16 days from when he first announced his White House bid on June 15 to the end of second fundraising quarter on June 30.

Although there is a significant disparity between how much Bush’s actual campaign brought in compared to his super PAC – which can raise unlimited funds in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision – the $114.4 million total dwarfs that of other candidates, both Democrat and Republican alike. 

For example, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton’s campaign has said it brought in $45 million in the second quarter of this year, with Priorities USA Action, the super PAC supporting Clinton, saying it would report a $15.6 million haul for the quarter. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator who’s taking on Clinton in the Demoratic primary, announced he’s brought in $15 million since announcing on April 30.

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On the GOP side, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz – the first to jump into the race—has said he raised $10 million (with his super PACs bringing in $37 million). Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson’s campaign said it raised more than $8.3 million. Former Hewlett-Packard CEO announced it had raised just $1.4 million in the second quarter.

Bush’s fundraising came under scrutiny earlier this year when he seemingly exploited a campaign finance loophole, putting off his official entry into the 2016 race so he could raise vast sums for his super PAC that is supposed to be independent of any campaign.

According to Right to Rise, the super PAC supporting Bush, the campaign now has $98 million cash on hand. The $103 million haul was from more than 9,900 donors, with about 9,400 donors giving $25,000 or less. Meanwhile, the Bush campaign’s $11.4 million – first reported by the Associated Press – means he raised an average of $710,000 a day since announcing his candidacy.

Woody Johnson, Bush’s 2016 national finance chairman, said in a statement that the Republican is “encouraged and grateful for the tremendous early support and enthusiasm his candidacy has generated since he launched his campaign. We are confident our campaign will have the resources needed to get Jeb’s conservative record, message and vision for the future out to voters across the country.”

Candidates must file their April-June numbers to federal officials by July 15, while super PACs supporting those candidates have until July 31 to file reports.