Steinhauser: Cruz announces big campaign cash haul
CONCORD, New Hampshire -- Call him the $4 million dollar man
That's the total Sen. Ted Cruz raised in the eight days after the Republican from Texas officially launched his campaign for the White House. And in a sign of his appeal to grassroots conservatives, his campaign Wednesday evening touted that 95% of the contributions were of $100 or less.
Cruz formally announced his presidential campaign on March 23, at a speech at Liberty University in Virginia. He was the first, and at this date remains the only, big name candidate in either party to official launch a White House bid.
At the time, his campaign appeared to lower expectations, by estimating that Cruz would raise $1 million in his first week. Cruz easily passed that benchmark and last Friday at a campaign stop in Merrimack, Cruz touted his fundraising figures.
"We raised a million dollars in the first day," he said, adding that "within three days we broke two million."
Word of the Cruz fundraising figures was first reported by the Wall Street Journal and quickly confirmed by NH1 News.
"Often you have an establishment candidate, usually the moderate, who will be well funded," Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler said in a statement. "Here we have a candidate who is conservative and can raise money."
Cruz is very popular with tea party activists and other grassroots conservatives, and he will most likely rely heavily on small-dollar donations rather than big checks from the wealthy donors who tend to back establishment candidates. The Cruz campaign said that the average donation during the eight days from the campaign launch through March 31 (the deadline for candidates to file their fundraising totals from the first quarter of 2015) was around $83.
The goal of the Cruz campaign is to bring in some $40 million over the next year. That haul will most likely be dwarfed by the big bucks expected to be raised by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and possibly Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Asked two weeks ago in a one-on-one interview with NH1 News if he can compete with the big bucks that Bush, the former Florida governor and son and brother to former presidents, is expected to raise, Cruz said "absolutely."
"Jeb Bush will shatter every fundraising record ever set. They've set a goal this first quarter of raising $100 million. It wouldn't surprise me if Jeb does much more than that, if he blows past $100 million."
"Among donors, Jeb Bush represents Mick Jagger and the Beatles rolled all in one. But at the end of the day races are not decided by donors in fancy fundraisers. Races are decided by actual primary voters, by people on the ground. And I'll tell you the support we're seeing at the grassroots is breathtaking and in my experience, grassroots plus money beats a whole lot more money every time," Cruz added.
And the first-term senator noted that "the last four years I've raised over $22 million, under federal hard money limits, and with the support we're seeing, I am more and more confident that we will have the financial resources to compete and compete vigorously."