How the mightily-funded have fallen.
Back in July, Right to Rise, the super PAC that formed to boost Jeb Bush’s presidential bid, announced it had hauled in a staggering $103 million in the first half of the year. The sum was intended in part to intimidate the rest of a still-forming field and their potential donors into believing that the nomination of the former Florida governor was an inevitability.
Obviously, a lot’s changed since. The account on Sunday night reported that its collections in the second half of the year sagged to $15.1 million, a stark comment on Bush’s diminished standing. The lion’s share of that total came in a $10 million check from C.V. Starr, an insurance agency operator headed by former AIG CEO Hank Greenberg. Only one other donor forked over a contribution greater than six figures — Morton Bouchard, the CEO of an oil barge company, gave $1 million. That’s a far cry from last spring, when Bush fundraisers advised eager donors to limit their contributions to $1 million so as to avoid a possible public relations headache if the account raise too much money.
The fund has blown through more than $80 million on broadcast advertising as of Sunday, according to the Associated Press. Republican elders in recent weeks have criticized it for attacking Bush’s establishment rivals — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — rather than trying to reverse the rise of Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, both of whom are viewed as toxic to the party’s November hopes.
Yet for all that spending, including $15 million in Iowa, Bush is badly lagging. He notched a mere 2% support in the latest Des Moines Register poll, released Saturday.