Trump has only given $56 million to his campaign when he promised $100 million
With only 11 days remaining, it is likely too late to spend tens of millions of dollars more wisely, experts say
If Donald Trump were to honor his pledge to spend $100 million of his own money on his campaign, he would have to invest and spend $44 million at breakneck speed.
And even then, Republicans warn, it would not do much good.
Trump, the billionaire businessman whose outsider appeal was bolstered by his seeming ability and desire to self-fund his campaign, only gave $31,000 to his effort over the first three weeks of October. And on Friday, he wired another $10 million to his presidential bid, but declined when asked by Fox News to guarantee a $100 million total.
“I’m going to meet what I have to meet,” he would only say.
As recently as Wednesday, the Republican presidential nominee was insisting he would cross the $100 million threshold by the end of the election, something GOP allies have urged him to do for months to resuscitate his stumbling campaign and augment their capabilities on the air and the ground.
But even if Trump cut the massive check to hit the magic number – and that’s an enormous if – it may be too late. He is essentially left with two bad options, observers say. He could try in vain to hire last-minute organizers or beef up data capabilities, but those fixed operations take months to develop.
Or he could write a check to fund a last-minute advertising barrage and come closer to parity with Hillary Clinton and her associated super PACs on the air – a likelier scenario, but one with tremendous diminishing returns given the cost and availability of advertising slots with less than two weeks to go.
“It’s much harder to scale up the turnout stuff because a lot of that is human capital. Can you find more people?” said Mike DuHaime, who has guided general election budgets at the Republican National Committee and for John McCain. “Putting a lot into the ground game at this stage is smart, but it’s hard to do.”
Trump’s campaign has only $16 million on hand, largely thanks to his poor performance with the party’s most elite donors, who only loaded $11 million into the high-dollar Trump Victory fund in the first part of October.
Clinton, meanwhile, has $62 million as of October 20, and her super PAC Priorities USA has an additional $15 million.
For Trump, this adds up to trouble for a candidate trailing or neck-and-neck in the swing states he needs to win in order to capture the White House, such as Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Given that Trump’s path to 270 electoral votes is much narrower than Clinton’s, the money deficit could easily prove fatal.
Trump has long been under pressure, both from donors and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, to write a sizable check to his campaign.
It’s been a struggle to convince Trump to contribute more, though, and one source says there were a number of previous instances where Trump appeared poised to offer a cash influ