President Trump’s re-election campaign is off to a great start.
His fundraising effort, based closely on the Pioneers network that helped Bush win in 2000, rewards high-performing bundlers with invitations to attend high-profile events and join prestigious clubs.
“I’m really hoping to make sure we get every person that was a Rubio or Bush supporter in 2016…and make sure that they’re working for the president and even going back to a lot of the Romney people from 2012,” says RNC finance chairman Todd Ricketts. “It’s the same pool.”
The fundraising campaign marks a significant turnaround for Trump – who in 2016 criticized opponents for their reliance on the GOP establishment – and for traditional donors, who largely opposed Trump in 2016.
“All you have to do is look at what the other side is gearing up for and this is a pretty easy decision for a lot of people,” says lobbyist Geoff Verhoff, who supported Marco Rubio in 2016. “From a policy standpoint, there’s virtually nothing they disagree with, then layer on top of that the choice that the other side is presenting to the country and it’s a no-brainer.”
Leading the effort to win over traditional GOP donors is Jack Oliver, who aided George W. Bush and Jeb Bush during their presidential campaigns. “I think you’ll have a significant number of Bush and Romney veterans that were on the sidelines or didn’t get overly involved in 2016 but will be involved in the 2020 campaign,” says Oliver.
Other establishment figures expected to join the campaign include Geoff Verhoff, Anthony Gioia, and Rick Hohlt. “I think people are totally impressed by how the campaign is being set up, efficient and focused like a business,” says Hohlt, a longtime Bush family benefactor.
Trump’s re-election campaign has also been successful in attracting small donors, who helped the GOP team raise $30 million in the first quarter (that’s about 21x more cash than Obama’s re-election team had in 2011).
The average small-dollar contribution was about $34, and nearly 99% of donations were less than $200. Combined with the $46 million raised in the first quarter by the RNC, Trump’s re-election campaign has about $82 million cash on hand.
According to Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale, the tremendous support for Trump is the result of “promises made, promises kept” as well as the “enormous appeal of his determination to Make American Great Again.”
Trump 2020 aides will discuss the fundraising project at length with key donors on May 7th during a closed-door event in Washington, DC.