Money Trail

Clinton Said to Mobilize Major Fundraisers for June Surge

The Democrat is ramping her fundraising apparatus back up while Donald Trump struggles to get started.

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Hillary Clinton's campaign summoned its major fundraisers on a conference call Wednesday to quickly mobilize their networks for general-election cash, asking them to match what they raised for the primaries by the end of this month, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The plea, aimed at increasing Clinton's war chest to as much as $1.1 billion by the November election, was made by campaign manager Robby Mook and finance director Dennis Cheng in the call with bundlers, said the person, who discussed the call on condition of anonymity. The campaign has raised about $300 million this election cycle, almost all of which was earmarked to be spent in the primaries.

Mook told the bundlers that, because of the robust fundraising for the primaries, the campaign already has staff in place in battleground states and doesn't need to hire more. He also said that Clinton, now the presumptive Democratic nominee, will spend most of her time in the most contested states, so fundraisers in traditional Democratic strongholds like California and New York will need to rely on surrogates to headline their events.

“I don't think it will be difficult for Hillary to raise money,” said James Blanchard, a former Michigan governor and longtime Clinton supporter who bundled money for her campaign. “We didn't have any problems in the primary.”

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So far, the campaign has about 1,200 bundlers, each of whom has raised at least $27,000, the person said, citing the call with Mook and Cheng. More than a third of those have raised more than $100,000. Another person familiar with the call said that Mook, when asked whether the campaign had a fundraising goal, said that while there isn't a specific number, there is a historical reference point in President Barack Obama having raised $1.1 billion in 2012.

Josh Schwerin, a Clinton spokesman, said details of this account of the call “are not accurate,” but declined to elaborate.

While Clinton ramps up her fundraising, Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, is just beginning. In an interview with Bloomberg Politics on Wednesday, Trump downplayed his own earlier estimate that that he would need $1 billion to take on Clinton. He said in the interview that he has no specific fundraising targets for his campaign and will largely rely on his star power to earn free media. 

The Clinton campaign has a few fundraising events scheduled in the week ahead, starting with a June 11 event in Baltimore headlined by former President Bill Clinton for the Hillary Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee for Clinton and the state parties. Gary Gensler, the former chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission who has been Clinton's point person on Wall Street regulation, is scheduled to appear at a New York event on June 13.

Another bundler, Allida Black, has already raised $340,000 for Clinton, is scheduled to attend an event in Boston next week with a $45 cost of admission. Black, who founded the Ready for Hillary super-PAC in January 2013,  said more than half of her fundraising has come through small donations. 

“There are many things that keep me up at night,” said Black, a longtime Clinton supporter. “But the money to fund this campaign isn't one of them.”

—With assistance from Sahil Kapur.

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