Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s super PAC was reportedly hoping to raise more than $100 million by the end of June, but it’s now looking like the group won’t meet that goal.
Two individuals familiar with the “Right to Rise” PAC’s internal discussions told the Washington Post the total could turn out to be significantly lower than the nine-figure threshold.
Of course, the super PAC isn’t Bush’s only fundraising vehicle: he also has a leadership PAC and a non-profit group, and after his June 15 launch, he’ll have a formal presidential campaign as well.
It’s not totally clear whether the $100 million goal was ever set by Bush’s political operation, or whether some ambitious and optimistic Republican fundraisers got ahead of themselves.
“The whispers in the air are not at all accurate,” Bush spokesman Tim Miller told the Post. “The PAC’s goals are far more modest.”
Regardless of the origin of the $100 million figure, though, expect at least some of Bush’s opponents to seize upon the failure to meet it as a sign of weakness and flagging enthusiasm.
Still, Bush is likely to raise more money than just about any other Republican contender at this early stage. His super PAC was apparently so flush with donations early in the quarter that officials had to cap contributions at $1 million per person. And the former governor told a group of about 350 donors to the super PAC in April that they had raised more money in the first 100 days of existence than other GOP operation in recent memory, an official with the PAC told CBS News.
To hear Bush tell it, though, he’s not too fixated on his fundraising totals. “I don’t think you need to spend a billion dollars to be elected president of the United States in 2016,” the former Florida governor said during an event in South Beach in April, according to the Miami Herald. “I don’t think it’s necessary if you run the right kind of campaign. You don’t need to have these massive amounts of money spent, but in order to be competitive, you have to raise a significant amount of money to build a first-rate policy team and a great campaign.”
The former governor is currently on an overseas trip to Estonia, Poland, and Germany. He’s using the trip to flesh out his foreign policy platform ahead of his planned campaign kickoff next Monday, but he’s finding that questions about the campaign are following him across the Atlantic.
This week, Bush announced that Danny Diaz, a 39-year-old GOP operative, would be his campaign manager. Many observers expected Bush to name David Kochel, an Iowa-based Republican strategist, as his campaign manager. Kochel will instead serve as the campaign’s chief strategist.
Asked about the announcement on Wednesday morning, Bush denied that any switch had been made.
“First of all we don’t have a campaign so there was no switching,” he explained, “but David Kochel will be the chief strategist which is where his skill sets are. I’ve gotten to know Danny Diaz for the last few months as he was part of the Right to Rise team and…I think he’s going to be a really good campaign manager. So this is an adjustment based on the skills of people I’ve gotten to know over the past three months.”
“It’s June for crying out loud so we’ve got a long way to go,” he added. “I just urge everyone to be more patient about this.”