No politician has yet declared his or her candidacy, but
first-quarter fundraising numbers submitted to the Federal Election
Commission and released this week show backers of Rubio and Paul
spent several hundred thousand dollars to help both senators in the
first three months of 2014.
Kentucky Senator Paul's RANDPAC group spent over $580,000 in the
first quarter, much of it on fundraising, consulting, and travel
expenses as the first-term lawmaker crisscrossed the country
spreading his libertarian message and courting groups that do not
traditionally support Republicans.
Paul has built a national infrastructure largely on the back of his
father Ron Paul's network from previous presidential campaigns.
Rubio, a Florida senator who has fallen out of favor with many in
the party's right wing over his support of immigration reform, has
been one of the most active contenders since 2013.
The freshman's Reclaim America PAC raised over $530,000 in the first
three months of 2014, and spent over $375,000. Much of that money
went to consultants and data analytics teams that could help Rubio
if he chose to run for president.
Other possible candidates have been meeting with donors and
operatives to set up potential campaigns, but have not been as
publicly active as Rubio and Paul. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush
has no similar political committees, for example, while groups
associated with Texas Senator Ted Cruz have not raised or spent as
Embattled New Jersey Governor Chris Christie demonstrated his own
fundraising acumen by leading his Republican Governors Association
to a $23.5 million first quarter but he has no federal groups
raising money for a possible presidential run.
[to top of second column]
On the Democratic side, a network of independent organizations has
been laying the groundwork for a campaign by former U.S. Secretary
of State Hillary Clinton. The first quarter saw increased activity
by Priorities USA Action, the primary fundraiser for President
Barack Obama in 2012, which now stands behind Clinton.
The group, which is led by Obama's 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina
and is expected to be the Clinton campaign's main money vehicle,
spent over $535,000 in the first quarter despite not actively
It had earlier come under fire for not doing enough to support
Democrats in 2014 elections, and it sent $250,000 to the primary PAC
supporting congressional Democrats — House Majority PAC — in
Last week Ready For Hillary, a super-PAC urging the former first
lady and senator to run by building up grass-roots support,
announced it had raised more than $1.7 million in the first quarter.
That brought its fundraising haul to over $5.75 million since
launching in 2013 — despite a self-imposed cap of $25,000 per
Clinton holds a considerable lead over other potential Democratic
presidential contenders in preliminary polling.
(Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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