Two 527 committees supporting John Kasich's presidential bid will report raising around $11.5 million dollars in just two months, an encouraging sign for the Ohio Republican governor's late-starting effort.
Part of that money is already being spent on a million-dollar television advertising buy that began this week, targeting New Hampshire voters, in advance of Kasich's expected formal announcement in Columbus on July 21.
According to a source familiar with the two committees, which share a version of the same name (New Day for America), the effort has focused on major donors, rather than grassroots contributions. The total includes thirty checks of $100,000 or more. The source said millions in additional donations are already in the pipeline.
Raising more than $10 million in eight weeks suggests that the Ohio Governor's backers can potentially compete on equal footing with the committees backing at least some of his rivals, which have raised more than Kasich, but over longer periods of time. A nonprofit backing Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Conservative Solutions Project (501(c)(4)), announced recently that it had raised $15.8 million to date since January. A group of Ted Cruz affiliated super-PACs said they raised a combined $37 million since early April. Yesterday, Jeb Bush's super-PAC, Right to Rise, announced it had raised a whopping $103 million since the beginning of the year.
“In just over 10 weeks, we’ve exceeded our initial fundraising goal by over a million dollars,” said New Day for America Executive Director Matt Carle. “The response to Governor Kasich’s message has been strong. Supporters are looking for a record of accomplishment and someone who looks out for all Americans.”
Among those major contributors who have raised money for the committees as well as contributed were Phil Geier, former chairman and CEO of the Interpublic Group of Companies, and Gay and Stanley Gaines, longtime active Republican donors from Florida.
Kasich has long rubbed elbows with the kind of megarich donors who can kick in big checks to these types of organizations, first as a prominent member of Congress for many years, then as an investment banker, and in the last few years as the governor of one of the nation’s most politically important states. Since he began to seriously consider running for president several months ago, he has put a premium on determining if he could raise sufficient money to be competitive and has spent a good deal of time courting wealthy backers.
Kasich’s operation will also have to prove it can also raise money for the campaign itself if he is going to thrive within the large field of Republican candidates. Raising campaign money, with a limit of $2,700 per person for the nomination fight, is an extraordinarily time-consuming effort, one which Kasich will have to engage in while continuing his day job as governor of Ohio and meeting voters around the country.
Kasich and his supporters are eager to convince political elites and voters that he should be considered a top-tier candidate. With his meager poll standing, fundraising success is one of his best talking points to date to suggest the viability of his candidacy.
In the 2000 presidential cycle, when Kasich made a previous run, he proved to be an anemic fundraiser and withdrew from the race.