Taken aback by the size of Donald Trump’s July fundraising haul, Hillary Clinton’s campaign is quickly working to beef up its efforts to raise campaign cash before the fall — sending the candidate, running mate Tim Kaine, and former President Bill Clinton on an all-out financial sprint through August while explicitly warning top fundraisers this week that they need to pick up the pace.
In an internal memo, first obtained by POLITICO, that will be circulated to high-level donors on Monday morning, campaign manager Robby Mook specifically writes that the Republican nominee’s July haul overshot the campaign’s expectations, necessitating a new wave of action.
“Donald Trump also had his best fundraising month of the campaign, raising $80 million,” explains Mook in the roughly 750-word missive — titled “Wake Up Call” — after trumpeting Clinton’s own $90 million haul between the campaign and other Democratic committees. “This was far more than anyone expected — and should be a wake-up call to all Hillary supporters. We must redouble our efforts in the coming weeks.”
Clinton has had a robust fundraising operation going since she launched her campaign in April 2015, allowing her to build up a cash stockpile of $58 million heading into August and funding campaign ads across the country that Trump has been unable or unwilling to match — that’s in addition to the big-money efforts from her supportive super PACs. But Trump’s recent cash strength after months of not lifting a finger to raise money has given party leaders pause, particularly since — as Mook notes — Clinton’s cash pace is behind that of President Barack Obama four years ago.
“While we are very proud of the more than $469 million our campaign has raised so far, we remain behind the historic pace that President Obama set in 2012, raising $520 million during the same time frame. With only three months to go, it is critical that we close the gap between President Obama’s record-level fundraising and the pace we are currently on,” reads the memo. “Falling short of the resources raised in 2012 will require us to scale back from the investments President Obama’s campaign made in organizing, data and other critical tools.”
To avoid such a fate while matched up against a Trump operation with $37 million on hand, the campaign is sending both Clintons and Kaine on a fast-paced fundraising tour of the country on top of their public campaigning. And while many of their events were scheduled prior to the release of Trump’s numbers, the campaign intends to use Trump’s figures to amp up the urgency among its fundraisers.
In August alone, the three campaign principals will headline over 80 finance events in more than 25 states, according to a schedule of the private events distributed to donors and obtained by POLITICO. The candidate herself will hit over 35, while Kaine will make it to more than 30 and the former president will headline somewhere around 20.
In just the next week, Hillary Clinton will hold two events in Florida, one in Illinois, one in Pennsylvania, and one in Connecticut. Bill Clinton will have one in Colorado, one in Utah and two in California. Kaine will hit three in Texas, one each in Louisiana and New Hampshire, and two in Rhode Island.
In addition, campaign surrogates will continue to headline their own fundraising events all over the world, while the Brooklyn-based team also looks to ramp up its online grass-roots operation. Both Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are also expected to step up their fundraising on behalf of Clinton.
Much of Mook’s pitch to wealthy Democrats is based around bolstering the campaign’s on-the-ground capabilities to end the summer, making the case that money raised in August is especially important — particularly given the campaign’s efforts to register 3 million voters before registration deadlines hit and early ballot distribution begins this fall.
“We have to make investments now in order to scale our organizing programs in time to be ready for GOTV. Our ability to reach targeted voters and turn them out will be decided by the number of organizers we can hire now and the volunteers they can start recruiting today,” he urges, making the segue to TV ads — of which Trump still has none, while Clinton and her supportive super PACs have blanketed battleground state airwaves for months. “Similarly, we know that television in the quieter month of August and in early September will do much more to cement the narrative of the campaign on our terms than in the last few weeks of the election. Simply put, a dollar raised in August has a much greater impact than one raised in October, especially if Trump closes the gap with us.”
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