In the final month of the campaign, Hillary Clinton and the Democrats have a massive fundraising advantage for the all-critical final push of the election.
Hillary Clinton’s joint fundraising committee with the Democratic National Committee and state committees, the Hillary Victory Fund, raised $261 million in the third quarter, according to Federal Election Commission filings out Saturday.
By comparison, the equivalent Trump Victory Fund, which coordinates with the Republican National Committee and state parties, raised less than one-quarter of Clinton's haul — $61 million.
That’s not great news for Trump and for Republicans running in House and Senate races down the ballot.
The money raised from these committees funds organizational infrastructure of staff and volunteers on the ground that work to persuade people to support their candidates and efforts to get people to the polls. It’s not only the presidential candidates that benefit — the the money also helps to elect down-ballot candidates of the same party.
As of Sept. 30 when the filing period closed, Hillary Victory Fund and Hillary Action Fund had $83 million cash on hand for the effort compared to Trump Victory’s $20 million — a $63 million disparity for the final five weeks of the campaign.
The disparity has been evident on the ground as the Trump campaign has not invested in the national infrastructure, especially in battleground states considered necessary to win a presidential election.
The Republican National Committee has insisted that the Trump campaign doesn’t need the ground game because it is providing it, but these fundraising numbers show that even if the RNC is making up for Trump’s lack of interest and investment in the details of making sure supporters show up to vote, the effort lags far behind Clinton’s.
Because Senate candidates rely on the joint fundraising committees to help their effort, a strong candidate at the top of the ticket is ideal.
A second joint fundraising committee with the RNC, Trump Make America Great, fared better, raising $151 million in the last three months. But far less of that amount is shared with the RNC for infrastructure and most is spent on fundraising efforts like sending email solicitations and direct mail.
Throughout his campaign Trump has struggled to raise money. Some of the major Republican donors have sat on the sidelines or joined begrudgingly late in the game. And Trump’s fundraising efforts are expected to only get worse as he continues to run a troubled and discipline-free candidacy.
The last month of Trump’s campaign has increased the concern among donors. One bundler, who raised close to $1 million for Trump, has said he will no longer fundraise for him. And at least two donors told this bundler that they want their money back after an audio tape caught Trump speaking about sexually touching women without their consent.
Charles and David Koch have stayed out of the presidential race completely and so has multi-million dollar donor Paul Singer, just to name a few.
Just a few weeks ago Republican mega donors Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and Joe and Marlene Ricketts of TD Ameritrade finally got involved. But their group 45 Committee is running television ads attacking Clinton instead of supporting Trump.
The campaigns’ individual fundraising totals for just the month of September come out on Oct. 20. The Clinton campaign says it and its coordinated committees raised $154 million in September and the Trump campaign said it raised $100 million for all three entities.