First on CNN: Trump quintuples size of finance team

Trump trails Clinton by $40 million in fundraising
trump fundraising acosta dnt tsr_00002002


    Trump trails Clinton by $40 million in fundraising


Trump trails Clinton by $40 million in fundraising 02:16

Story highlights

  • Trump and RNC have quintupled the size of their finance operation
  • Republicans have expressed concern about Trump's fundraising performance

Washington (CNN)Donald Trump's campaign and the Republican National Committee are adding about 85 fundraising veterans to their previously paltry operation, a move that could calm jitters that Trump is not equipped to raise money.

The roster of state finance chairs for the joint fundraising effort includes mainstays of GOP finance circles but also new, wealthy blood that is green to presidential buck-raking. Trump now has at least one state finance chair in 33 states and the District of Columbia.
    The lineup suggests that Trump's fundraising team is making headway and professionalizing its donor contact operation. At least one bundler on the list, John Rakolta, a former national finance chair, told CNN only three weeks ago that he had surprisingly received zero contact from the Trump campaign.
    Trump's fundraising shop previously consisted publicly of only about 20 people, and the campaign began the month of June with only $1.3 million in the bank. Its July numbers are expected to improve significantly.
    "Having so many long-time supporters eager to come on board signals our nationwide fundraising effort is continuing to gain steam months ahead of Election Day," Lew Eisenberg, the RNC's finance chair, said in a statement. "The effort to build national support began the first week in June and continues to gain momentum."
    Additions to Trump's team include Oklahoma energy executive Larry Nichols; Todd Christie, the brother of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a finalist for Trump's vice president; David Fischer, a top auto manufacturer in Michigan and a major RNC donor; long-time GOP fundraiser Ron Gidwitz, of Chicago; Francis Rooney, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican; Brian Ballard, a prominent Florida lobbyist; and Larry Mizel, a Colorado real estate titan active in the Jewish fundraising world.
    The roster includes several Republican financiers who have been among the most vocal Trump supporters, such as New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, New York investor Anthony Scaramucci and San Diego businessman and California Prop. 8 backer "Papa" Doug Manchester. Reps. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota and Steve Southerland of Florida are on the list as well.
    "Having experienced fundraising and business leaders in place means we are well-prepared for the long fight ahead against Hillary Clinton," Trump finance chair Steve Mnuchin said in a statement, "and I expect their efforts will fuel enthusiasm in their states for electing Donald Trump president."