- Republican presidential candidates filed their second quarter fundraising totals over the weekend, with former Vice President Mike Pence bringing in just $1.2 million since his early June campaign launch.
- Several political experts sounded the alarm over Pence’s low second quarter totals, compared to other major candidates’ multi-million dollar hauls, but some weren’t surprised considering the vice president’s relationship with Donald Trump, they told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
- “The Marianne Williamson of the Republican Party is Mike Pence, which is really kind of bad because he’s the former vice president,” Jeff Frederick, former chairman of the Virginia GOP, told the DCNF. “If he doesn’t come out of the gates with the next finance report like flying, like completely turning heads, like ‘Oh my gosh, what a turn around,’ he’s done.”
The second quarter fundraising totals of the 2024 Republican presidential candidates offered a glimpse into the strength of their respective campaigns on Saturday, and several political experts sounded the alarm over former Vice President Mike Pence’s numbers.
Pence raised $1.2 million since launching his presidential bid in June, coming in toward the bottom fundraising tier of the crowded GOP primary field, according to a Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing. Some political experts weren’t surprised with the former vice president’s low second quarter totals, given his relationship with former President Donald Trump, with one GOP consultant comparing him to Democratic presidential longshot and self-help author Marianne Williamson, they told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“The Marianne Williamson of the Republican Party is Mike Pence, which is really kind of bad because he’s the former vice president,” Jeff Frederick, former chairman of the Virginia GOP, told the DCNF. “If he doesn’t come out of the gates with the next finance report like flying, like completely turning heads, like ‘Oh my gosh, what a turn around,’ he’s done.”
Williamson is currently polling at 5.6% for the Democratic presidential primary, and her campaign raised just under $1 million during the second fundraising quarter. Pence ended his first fundraising quarter as a presidential candidate with just over $1 million cash on hand, with his campaign and Committed to America, the super political action committee (PAC) supporting his White House Bid, previously announcing a combined $3.85 million.
“I just announced a month ago,” Pence told ABC News last week. “Give me some time.” (RELATED: Pence’s Fundraising Numbers Cast Doubt On Debate Eligibility)
Pence’s low fundraising numbers aren’t surprising to Dr. Charles Bullock, professor of political science at the University of Georgia and an American Enterprise Institute fellow, who told the DCNF since the party is still very much “in Trump’s pocket,” he doesn’t believe those looking for an alternative aren’t likely to flock to his vice president.
The former vice president’s second quarter totals don’t indicate there is a “lane” for Pence, Jon McHenry, a GOP polling analyst and vice president at North Star Opinion Research, told the DCNF, echoing Bullock’s sentiment.
“Vice President Pence’s numbers are kind of right where you’d expect: some courtesy donations in appreciation of past relationships, but nothing that suggests there is a lane for him to pursue in this race,” McHenry told the DCNF. “His association with President Trump will sour the ‘never Trump’ folks, and his refusal to derail the certification of electors ticks off the hard core Trump folks.”
So Grateful to the thousands of Americans who have already Donated to Pence for President! We need 40,000 donors to qualify for the first GOP Presidential Debate & You Can Help! Donate $1 RIGHT NOW & We will See You on the Debate Stage in August #Pence2024 https://t.co/NYOplB8K9i
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) July 10, 2023
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis raised more than any other GOP contender during the second quarter, followed by Trump, conservative businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, respectively. Trump ended the second quarter with the most cash on hand at over $22 million, followed by Scott and DeSantis at $21.1 million and $12.2 million, respectively.
Bullock said that these second quarter filings aren’t that important to Trump’s standing in the GOP primary field, but is a big indicator for these other candidates who have to garner name recognition and introduce themselves to the electorate. The political scientist also noted how Scott ended the second quarter with far more cash on hand than DeSantis, and said that’s an indication the governor’s campaign has a “high burn rate.”
“The indications are that his campaign really has not clicked yet. If it doesn’t click fairly soon, I would think we’d see a substantial drop in his third quarter [totals],” Bullock said of DeSantis.
McHenry argued the second quarter totals reveal the “importance” of the first presidential debate in August to see which candidates catch fire, and questioned whether DeSantis can garner new donors with a strong debate performance.
“It’s hard to see much of a path forward for Governor Hutchinson or Governor Christie if they don’t score some points in that debate,” said McHenry. “As much as we can romanticize Senator McCain’s comeback in 2008, riding around New Hampshire on the Straight Talk Express, he had the benefit of being the second place candidate in 2000. None of the lower tier fundraisers has that level of visibility, and something will need to change to improve their fundraising and status for them to even make the Iowa caucus.”
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie raised $1.65 million since he jumped into the race in early June, and ended the second quarter with $1.59 million cash on hand. Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson brought in just $582,521 in the second quarter, and will enter the next fundraising quarter with $378,677 cash on hand.
Super PACs have until the end of the month to file their second quarter totals with the FEC, which will provide a clearer picture into the candidates’ fundraising powers. The number of donors is not included in the campaigns’ filings, which is critical to whether the contenders can participate in the first debate, as the Republican National Committee (RNC) is requiring all candidates meet a 40,000 unique donor threshold.
“We’ll make the debate stage. We’re working around the clock to make sure that we reach that threshold of 40,000,” Pence told ABC News last week. “I’m confident we’ll be there come Aug. 23.”
The RealClearPolitics (RCP) average for a 2024 national Republican primary, based on polls conducted between June 16 and July 11, indicates Trump is leading the crowded field by 34.1 points, followed by DeSantis with 19.7%, Pence with 6%, Ramaswamy with 4.5%, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley with 3.3%, Scott with 3% and Christie with 2.5%. All other contenders garnered 1% or less, or did not register in the polls to be included in the RCP’s average.
Pence’s campaign did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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