Ever since Citizens United opened the bank vault, Democrats are going to have to raise massive amounts of cash to compete with the bad guys. That's just reality:
An associate of the Texas senator, a recently announced presidential candidate, tells Bloomberg that a cluster of affiliated super-political action committees was formed only this week, and among them they are expected to have $31 million in the bank by Friday.
Even in the context of a presidential campaign cycle in which the major party nominees are expected to raise more than $1.5 billion, Cruz’s haul is eye-popping, one that instantly raises the stakes in the Republican fundraising contest.
Although super-PACs have radically changed the pace at which committees backing presidential candidates can raise money, the Cruz haul is remarkable. There are no known cases in which an operation backing a White House hopeful has collected this much money in less than a week.
Those involved in the Cruz super-PACS say many of his biggest financial backers haven’t yet made contributions to the new organizations and are expected to do so in the coming months. By law, super-PACS can accept unlimited contributions from individuals.
From his time as a Senate candidate in 2012, Cruz has been one of the country’s most aggressive and successful super-PAC fundraisers. His political team has calculated from the start of their planning for a presidential campaign that his overall operation would be able to keep pace with rivals in part because of a robust super-PAC operation. They have talked among themselves about the names of numerous wealthy Cruz backers who they fully expect will contribute several million dollars each.
Still, even some Cruz supporters, and many others who have been skeptical that his candidacy could draw significant financial support, are certain to be stunned by this initial round of contributions.
While former Florida Governor Jeb Bush is universally expected to easily lead all other Republican presidential candidates in financial backing, a hotly debated topic in political circles has been who would finish second to Bush in money raised by the end of 2015. This week’s apparent lightning strike could help Cruz claim that spot, possibly besting other leading prospects such as Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
Cruz’s campaign is also expected to raise money competitively at the grassroots level through the Internet and small-dollar contributions, as well as through traditional bundling of so-called hard-dollar checks, which are subject to limits of $2,700 per election per individual.
Either of those methods, of course, would require significantly more than a week to generate $31 million.