Trump doubles monthly campaign fund-raising, lags behind Clinton

Supporters for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump cheer as he arrives at a rally on June 18 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Supporters for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump cheer as he arrives at a rally on June 18 in Phoenix, Arizona. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump's campaign raised US$3.1 million (S$4.1 million) from donors in May, more than doubling previous monthly hauls as he began soliciting donations to battle Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

But with spending that outpaced inflows, the New York real estate magnate's campaign began June with just US$1.29 million in cash, putting it well-behind Mrs Clinton's US$42 million war chest, according to federal disclosures filed late on Monday (June 20).

Mrs Clinton's campaign raised US$26 million in May.

The figures underscore the huge money advantage she is hoping to enjoy leading into the Nov 8 election, one that could allow her a large staff and millions of dollars of television and digital ads in battleground states.

 
 

Mr Trump, who has self-funded most of his campaign and only held his first general election fund-raiser on May 26, is betting he can run a race that builds on his low-spending, insurgent primary operation.

Mr Trump's surrogates, however, have said the cash is now "pouring in" for the general election. For months the biggest cash injections into his campaign coffers were from his personal bank accounts. He has loaned his campaign US$46 million since launching last year.

Mr Trump may still have several hurdles to cross before convincing deep-pocketed donors to write the kind of checks that would make him competitive with Mrs Clinton's campaign bank account.

Trump donors, allies and other Republican operatives continue to express concerns about his campaign operation, which has been dogged by internal battles, a threadbare campaign infrastructure of about 30 paid staffers, and a barely existent fund-raising apparatus.

On Monday, Mr Trump fired his campaign manager, Mr Corey Lewandowski, who had been tasked with overseeing the campaign's fund-raising arm.

The primary Super PAC supporting Mr Trump, Great America PAC, reported raising US$1.4 million in May - accounting for most of the US$2.5 million the group has raised this year. The PAC had US$500,971 cash remaining at the beginning of June.

Mrs Clinton's cash advantage has been fuelled in part by the Super PAC supporting her. Priorities USA raised US$12 million in the last month, ending May with US$52 million in cash. Three unions, AFT Solidarity, Liuna Building America and International Union of Operating Engineers, each gave US$1 million.

The group has largely been tasked with attacking Mr Trump. And so far, they have spent more than US$5.7 million this year on television ads alone attacking the Republican.