Cruz Rakes in the Cash as He Closes In on Trump
Policy + Politics

Cruz Rakes in the Cash as He Closes In on Trump

© Reuters Staff / Reuters

Ted Cruz seems poised to take his momentum well into the New Year, having raised $20 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, the Texas senator’s largest haul since becoming a White House hopeful.

An official campaign memo obtained by The Wall Street Journal shows Cruz’s fundraising nearly doubled the roughly $12 million he raked in during the previous quarter. Cruz took in $4.3 million in the first quarter, then $10 million in the second, though his camp touted the fact that he had more cash on hand than any other candidate in the crowded GOP field.

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Cruz’s fundraising total for the year stands around $45 million, campaign manager Jeff Roe said in the memo to staffers.

The dollar figure reflects Cruz’s new status as a top-tier candidate. Recent polls show him beating billionaire Donald Trump in Iowa and coming in second to the former reality TV star nationally.

Official fundraising reports aren’t due out until January 31, the day before the Iowa caucuses. But by leaking his fundraising numbers now, Cruz cements his newfound status in the Republican primary and shows just how well he’s translating his support among evangelicals and dissatisfied GOP voters into a well-financed operation.

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The impressive dollar figure also can’t hurt in Cruz’s simmering feud with Trump. While the Texas lawmaker has proven reluctant to publicly attack the bombastic real estate mogul – saving his barbs for supposedly off-the-record fundraisers – Trump has begun to focus on Cruz, recently bringing up his Cuban ancestry.

Earlier this week Trump, who has spent very little on advertising so far, said he would spend $2 million a week on TV ads in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina – the first three voting states. Cruz will need a healthy war chest to counter that kind onslaught and keep voters’ attention.

Then there’s Ben Carson. The retired neurosurgeon, who gone from being neck-and-neck with Trump a few weeks ago to the back of the Republican pack after national security became a top issue, claims to have raised $23 million in the fourth quarter.

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While that number dwarfs Cruz’s results, and likely every other Republican running, it could prove to be window dressing concealing larger problems within the Carson campaign, which the candidate himself has publicly said needs a dramatic shakeup.

That’s because the campaign has yet to say how much it spent in the last quarter. Carson raised around $21 million in the third quarter, but spent about half of that, giving him one of the highest burn rates among the candidates and leaving him with roughly $11.5 million cash on hand after taking in over $30 million in the first nine months of 2015.

The campaign’s expenditures could lead to the shakeup Carson has talked about or, depending on how much cash went out the door and how contenders like Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida fare in the money race, provide new evidence that the political outsider’s bid has hit a wall.