Republican Presidential candidates will soon be searching heavily for donors, as the critical quarterly fundraising deadline of September 30th nears ever closer. The debate on Wednesday night will be of utmost importance for candidates, as it could mean the difference between having ample money to spend on the campaign or the alternative of running out of funds down the stretch.
Fundraisers for the candidates are currently preparing call lists of undecided voters and potential donors.
Fundraiser Hal Lambert, who is working for candidate Ted Cruz, said, “There are always people you have in mind that you’re going to call right after the debate.”
The specific goals are different for each candidate.
Ted Cruz seeks to increase the amount of funds he has amasses so far in 2015. He has had a strong performance in terms of donations this year, trailing only Jeb Bush among Republicans. The upcoming quarter is chance for Cruz to gain ground.
Jeb Bush, who has sunk in the polls, is expected to rely upon the record-setting $120 million that he acquired from donors in the first half of the year. Bush hopes to demonstrate the depth and perseverance of his fundraising network to maintain his cash advantage this quarter.
Fundraiser Fred Zeidman, who is supporting Jeb Bush, says that a strong performance by Bush in the debate will enable him to expand his list of potential donors. He says that the best time to request money is when people are excited.
Even if the candidate of a fundraiser has a poor showing in the debate, the fundraiser will probably still be calling people looking for money. They will sell the debate as a good one, even if it wasn’t.
However, not every fundraiser is that bold. One fundraiser who is representing a Republican candidate who performed poorly in the initial debate said that a list of “on the fence” donors was never utilized.
Most candidates realize that there is simply not sufficient cash to supply the 16 person field and that some candidates will most certainly falter when it comes to funding.
The campaign of Marco Rubio emailed supporters this week, stating, “Long story short, we absolutely need to raise as much money as we can for Marco’s campaign this month.”
One candidate, Donald Trump, is particularly unfazed by the upcoming deadline. The current leading GOP candidate has been self-funding his campaign, reportedly without the help of major donations
For candidates Scott Walker, Chris Christie, and John Kasich, the deadline will represent the first time that they will disclose to the public how much money they have raised.
Candidates floundering near the bottom of the polls will most likely see the debate as a last-ditch effort to salvage their campaigns. A candidate with few supporters and little funding has virtually no chance.
Making things more difficult for candidates is the presence of Donald Trump, whose prolonged dominance in early polls have made donors more reluctant to send money to candidates who they believe have little chance of winning the Republican Party nomination.
Another issue concerns the actual logistics of the post-debate donate outreach. Much of the potential donor community is older and goes to bed early. Since the debate will end late at night, requests for funding are often put off until the next morning.
Campaign manager and daughter of Mike Huckabee Sarah Huckabee said, “We try not to wake them up in the middle of the night. They probably wouldn’t appreciate that.”
However, the hours immediately after a debate are critical, as the best time to receive large donations is while emotions are high.
To win over donors, campaigns often package debate highlight reels featuring their candidate’s jabs at other challengers and the praise offered to them by the media. These highlight reels are typically sent to contributors.
The results indicate that the post-debate fever is when a significant amount of money is raised. After the first debate, the campaign of Ted Cruz announced that it had raised more than $1 million in the span of 100 hours.
Another trend is that campaigns will look to cut spending on perks in order to save money for when they need it most.
After the debate is over, candidates will travel throughout the country to seek out more donors. Bush will travel to California on Thursday. Walker plans to make his way to New York next week for a big-dollar event is being hosted by the Ricketts family. Senator Marco Rubio plants to travel to Texas for a fundraising dinner.