The super political action committee backing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s presidential bid announced on Tuesday that it has raised $11 million since February, a haul the group says is more than double its initial goal – but one that’s significantly less than the candidate’s GOP competition.
Phil Cox, the director of America Leads, said in a statement that the super PAC wanted to raise $15 to $20 million by the end of the calendar year, with the hopes that one-third of that amount would be brought in by June 30. “… We are now well on our way to hitting and exceeding that benchmark,” said Cox, adding, “People are responding to Gov. Christie’s strength, substance and willingness to tell it like it is.”
The group has spent very little of what it has raised and currently has $10.7 million on hand.
Still, American Leads’ haul falls on the lower end of the spectrum when compared to the cash raised by super PACs supporting other Republican presidential candidates. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s super PAC blew his competition out of the water with $103 million. Groups for Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas brought in $37 million, followed by $16.8 million for former Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s, $16 million for Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, and $3.4 million for former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.
Super PACs – which can raise unlimited funds but must operate independent of any campaign – have until July 31 to file their official fundraising reports with the Federal Election Commission. Candidates, meanwhile, must file their April-June fundraising numbers by July 15. Christie, however, did not jump into the race until June 30.
America Leads also said that it had bought $1.1 million in television and digital advertising that will begin on July 20 in New Hampshire. In addition, the super PAC has reserved $2.8 million in advertising time in New Hampshire from November 16 through the state’s crucial primary on February 9.
Christie has been spending a lot of time in the Granite State, which is quickly emerging as a do-or-die state for the northeastern Republican, who critics say would have trouble winning in more conservative, early voting states like Iowa or South Carolina. His presidential campaign announced this week that Christie will travel to New Hampshire on Thursday to hold a town hall meeting in Franklin and another one in Milford on Friday.