This summer, Jeb Bush’s warchest seemed unbeatable. In July, the pro-Bush super-PAC, Right to Rise, announced a record haul of $103 million. Bush insiders said at the time that this staggering total was meant to “shock and awe” the former Florida governor’s competitors and pressure uncommitted donors to either climb on the bandwagon or stay the hell out of the way. Now it’s Right to Rise’s fundraisers who must be feeling shocked and awed: According to just-released disclosures, they managed to raise just $15.1 million during the second half of the year, as Bush fell from presumptive favorite to Donald Trump’s favorite punching bag.
In July, when the super-PAC’s first-half numbers were released, we counted at least 23 donors who gave $1 million or more to Right to Rise. This time, there was just one donor who gave more than $500,000—former AIG chairman and CEO, Hank Greenberg, who donated a whopping $10 million. And where during the first half of the year Right to Rise had 9,400 donors, it reported just 155 contributors in its latest disclosure.
Last spring, the super-PAC was so worried about appearing elitist and hurting Bush’s “man-of-the-people” image that it instructed donors to hold off on making any donations larger than $1 million. According to its latest filing, the super-PAC still has $54 million in cash (after having blown more than $58 million), but still, Right to Rise officials must be regretting that decision now.