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Donald Trump’s May FEC filings were released yesterday evening and they do not paint a pretty picture. Trump entered June with $1.3 million in cash-on-hand. That’s fairly typical… for a semi-competitive congressional race. Over on the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton had $42 million going into June. In May, Trump’s campaign spent $6.7 million. About 20 percent of this spending was payments to firms he owns and covering his children’s travel expenses. Looking forward, Clinton’s campaign has reserved $117 million in ad buys between tomorrow and Election Day on television, while Trump and his groups have reserved $700,000. It’ll be hard for the RNC to cover the gap, as:
…the RNC had only about $20 million cash-on-hand at the end of the month — $40 million less than the RNC did as of May 2012, when Mitt Romney, a prolific fundraiser, was topping the ticket. And it raised about $20 million less in May 2016 as it did in May 2012.
Trump’s not doing as much fundraising for the RNC as Romney did. As an example, once securing the nomination he apparently promised to call 20 big donors for the RNC, but only called three before moving on to other activities.
Also of note, the FEC filings also disclose $35,000 in payments to an ad agency called “Draper Sterling” (found on page 1,268 of the filing). It is unclear if this is a real ad agency, as it is “located” in suburban New Hampshire, and the name seems to be a homage to Mad Men.
As for fundraising in June, Saturday Trump threatened to go back to self-funding his campaign, which is an odd threat given that it was previously seen as a promise and selling point. He also sent out his first “$100,000 emergency” email plea this weekend.
It’s unclear if Trump do any fundraising while he’s in Scotland later this week, or any campaigning generally. The stated purpose of the trip is to open a golf course and resort.
His campaign staff consists of around 69 employees (down by two yesterday, including Lewandowski). In contrast, Clinton has about 700 on staff. While he will probably grow his staff size going forward, his lack of a voter data team is a conscious decision, not just something he’s behind on.
If Trump were beating Clinton in the polls, Trump’s success would make Clinton’s billion-dollar operation look ridiculous. But as he’s currently down by six points, his sparse operation looks less than reassuring to those hoping he’ll win. While it’s impressive he’s so close despite complete lack of a traditional “campaign infrastructure”, his supporters and down-ballot Republicans probably wish he would be a little more traditional in this department.
(Update: The original post misstated the number of employees Trump has; it has been corrected by the author).Published in