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First Read: How Donald Trump Shrank the GOP Field

First Read is a morning briefing from Meet the Press and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses supporters during a political rally at the Phoenix Convention Center on July 11, 2015.
Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses supporters during a political rally at the Phoenix Convention Center on July 11, 2015.Charlie Leight / Getty Images

First Read is a morning briefing from Meet the Press and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.

How Donald Trump shrank the GOP field

Yes, 17 Republicans are running for president. But the field seems much, much smaller than that -- especially after the last three weeks of attention on Donald Trump. To put it simply, Trump has shrunk the Republican field. Now that won’t last; as we’ve written before, Trump’s past comments on abortion and health care will come back to bite him among GOP voters. He’ll come back down to earth, just as Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain eventually did in the 2012 race. But RIGHT NOW, it seems as if there are just three 2016 candidates out there: Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, and Donald Trump. (Think about it: Ted Cruz, who has shown an ability to get press when he wants it, needed a Trump meeting yesterday to break through the current noise.) And if you’re Jeb, you have to love this, because it’s sucking oxygen from the rest of the field challenging you for the nomination. Realize that Scott Walker -- perhaps the Republican other than Bush who’s most likely to win the GOP nomination, according to the media and pundits -- announced his presidential bid this week. He, too, has been (temporarily?) Trumped.

The money raised so far in the ’16 race

$385 million: So the official second-quarter fundraising reports are in. And when you add the money the campaigns have raised (a combined $131 million), plus the Super PAC/outside money that’s been reported (a combined $254 million), we get a grand total of $385 million. So that’s one headline. But the other headline is how the Super PAC/outside group total makes up at least TWO-THIRDS of that amount -- thus a tiny number of big donors are subsidizing the candidates. And looking at the numbers below, we can safely say this: About half of the candidates wouldn’t be in the 2016 contest without Super PACs and outside groups. It is one of the biggest unintended consequences of our post-Citizens United world. Now conventional fundraising still matters if you’re going to be general-election nominee (lower ad rates!), but if you just want to be in the race and stick around, all you need is a big donor or two.

What the campaigns raised in the second quarter

  • Clinton: $47.5 million
  • Sanders: $15.2 million
  • Bush: $11.4 million
  • Cruz: $10 million (plus $4 million he raised from the last quarter)
  • Rubio: $8.9 million (plus $3.2 million transfer from Senate account last quarter)
  • Carson: $8.5 million (plus $1.7 million he had from the last quarter)
  • Paul: $6.9 million
  • Graham: $3.7 million
  • Huckabee: $2.0 million
  • O’Malley: $2.0 million
  • Trump: $1.9 million
  • Fiorina: $1.7 million
  • Perry: $1.1 million
  • Santorum: $608,000
  • Jindal: $579,000
  • Pataki: $256,000

Campaigns’ cash on hand as of June 30:

  • Clinton: $28.9 million
  • Sanders: $12.2 million
  • Rubio: $9.9 million
  • Cruz: $8.5 million
  • Bush: $8.4 million
  • Carson: $4.7 million
  • Paul: $4.2 million
  • Graham: $2.6 million
  • O’Malley: $1.3 million
  • Fiorina: $991,000
  • Huckabee: $885,000
  • Perry: $884,000
  • Trump: $488,000
  • Jindal: $514,000
  • Santorum: $232,000
  • Pataki: $208,000

The campaigns’ burn rates (what they spent this quarter divided by what they raised)

  • Trump: 74%
  • Carson: 64%
  • Santorum: 62%
  • Huckabee: 56%
  • Cruz: 54%
  • Perry: 52%
  • Fiorina: 42%
  • Paul: 40%
  • Clinton: 39%
  • O’Malley: 35%
  • Rubio: 35%
  • Graham: 30%
  • Bush: 27%
  • Sanders: 20%
  • Pataki: 19%
  • Jindal: 11%

What the Super PACs and 501c4s have raised so far (we won’t get the official reports for Super PACs until July 31)

  • Right to Rise (Bush): $103 million
  • Keep the Promise groups (Cruz): an estimated $37 million
  • Rick Perry Super PACs: $16.8 million
  • Conservative Solutions PAC (Rubio): $16 million
  • Conservative Solutions Project 501c4 (Rubio): $15.8 million
  • Priorities USA (Clinton): $15.6 million
  • America Leads (Christie): $11 million
  • American Bridge (Clinton): $7.7 million
  • American Bridge 501c4 (Clinton): $1 million
  • CARLY for America (Fiorina): $3.4 million
  • John Kasich 527s groups: $11.5 million
  • Bobby Jindal groups: $8.7 million
  • Mike Huckabee groups: $6 million

What the combined amounts (campaign + outside groups) are

  • Team Jeb: $114.4 million
  • Team Hillary: $71.8 million
  • Team Cruz: $51 million (that includes the $4 million his campaign raised in the 1stQ)
  • Team Rubio: $43.9 million
  • Team Perry: $17.9 million
  • Team Jindal: $9.2 million
  • Team Huckabee: $8 million
  • Team Carly: $5.1 million

Obama becomes first sitting president to visit a federal prison

Outside of the 2016 race, the biggest political story today is President Obama becoming the first sitting president to visit a federal prison. The New York Times: “When President Obama arrives at the El Reno federal prison about 30 miles west of [Oklahoma City] on Thursday, he will go where no president has gone before, literally and maybe figuratively, too. In becoming the first sitting president to visit a federal prison, Mr. Obama will showcase an emerging bipartisan drive to overhaul America’s criminal justice system in a way none of his predecessors have tried, at least not in modern times.” Criminal-justice reform has become the “IT” issue of the past year, with a tremendous amount of bipartisan support, which means it’s very possible that the next president can deliver on it.

Planned Parenthood has a political fight on its hands

Finally, we want to discuss the undercover video of the group Center for Medical Progress, which purportedly shows a Planned Parenthood official discussing the sale of aborted fetus parts. Planned Parenthood argues that the video was highly edited, and it says the video misleadingly characterizes tissue-donation programs that are used for scientific research. What’s more, the full transcript shows the Planned Parenthood official repeatedly denying that there was any policy here but covering the costs (i.e, there wasn’t a for-profit sale going on here). Despite all of those things, Planned Parenthood has a political fight on its hands, given how fast the entire Republican Party reacted to it. In 2012, Barack Obama’s campaign made Mitt Romney’s criticism of Planned Parenthood a big selling point to Colorado and Virginia voters. But has the right found a way to ACORN-ize Planned Parenthood, even with this edited video (which was taken a year ago)? Bottom line: Planned Parenthood has a big crisis on its hands. The Congressional hearings aren't going to be pretty.

On the trail

Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and Chris Christie are in New Hampshire… Jeb Bush is in San Francisco… And Ben Carson, Bobby Jindal, Martin O’Malley, and Rick Santorum are in Iowa.

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