Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., pleaded for campaign donations on Tuesday, amid reports of fundraising trouble in the GOP.
During a Fox News interview ahead of Tuesday’s primary elections in Florida, Rubio begged supporters to send him money, claiming the Democratic front-runner, Rep. Val Demings, is getting money from “far-left Marxists” who contribute "50 bucks a month or whatever" to her campaign.
"God knows where the money's coming from," he whined.
It’s a rich claim from Rubio, who’s relied on a team of uber-wealthy, right-wing donors to keep his political career afloat in Florida.
There could be a couple factors at play in Rubio’s political panhandling. First, we can’t reject the possibility that sheer greed is the motivating factor for his begging. Although Rubio’s campaign may be pulling in less money than Demings' bid, there’s nothing stopping any of his wealthy conservative supporters from pouring money into the race. And his campaign just recently purchased more than $1 million in ads set to air in the next month.
But donations can be a sign of enthusiasm, which explains why Rubio’s begging sounded like a coach trying to rile up his downtrodden players at half-time. A recent University of Florida poll showed Demings with a slight lead over Rubio. And Republicans across the board have struggled with fundraising in recent months, with Florida's other senator, Rick Scott, shouldering much of the blame.
Scott is chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the GOP Senate's campaign arm, which focuses on getting Republicans elected. But he’s faced criticism recently for financial decisions he’s made while overseeing the organization. That includes the NRSC’s choice to decrease ad spending for beleaguered Senate candidates in battleground states the GOP will likely need to win to retake the Senate in this fall’s midterms.
According to Axios, Scott rather comically took a “planned” anniversary vacation to Italy with his wife and family right as news broke about GOP officials being worried about their prospects for winning the Senate. Not sure whether Scott heard his buddy Rubio’s whining while on a baecation thousands of miles away.
But his fleeing while his colleagues kvetch back home is a perfect representation of the GOP’s fundraising woes, and fully explains why their Senate hopes seem to be fading.