Single digits finally getting to him?
Jeb Bush’s campaign slashed hundreds of thousands of dollars in salaries over the last three months as the struggling candidate’s fundraising machine slowed to a more middling pace, new campaign-finance reports indicate.
No longer able to raise unlimited sums with his super PAC, Bush hauled in $13.4 million in the third quarter of the year for his campaign. That’s more than all of his GOP rivals except Ben Carson. But Bush also spent more than many of them, leaving him with about as much money in the bank as Marco Rubio. Ted Cruz has more.
Bush’s campaign once saw its size and staff as its strength. But the newly released campaign-finance reports indicate it could be a liability if fundraising slacks further.
More than 60 Bush staffers might have had their salaries cut or their positions changed to reduce their income, compared with the second quarter of the year when Bush announced his candidacy, the campaign-finance reports show. The campaign did not want to discuss the numbers. But the pay cuts, depending on whether the salaries are divided on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, could have saved the campaign anywhere from $450,000 to nearly $900,000 per quarter, according to a POLITICO analysis of the campaign’s payroll. The cuts have ranged from the small for some staffers ($12 a week) to large reductions for four of the top campaign chiefs who each took a $75,000 pay cut.
The Bush campaign payroll is still huge: nearly $1.7 million this quarter. It spent as much as $2 million more on various consulting-related services, from fundraising to legal compliance.
Danny Diaz, Bush’s campaign manager, issued a lengthy, data-packed memo Thursday that announced the fundraising numbers and pointed to early state media reports showcasing the strength of the campaign’s ground game: 10 staffers and two offices in Iowa; 12 staffers and one office in New Hampshire; seven staffers and two offices in South Carolina; 8 staffers and two offices in Nevada.
“We have hundreds of volunteers who have already committed they will travel to the early states to turn out the vote for Jeb,” Diaz wrote, boasting of the campaign’s “micro-targeting” efforts to find Bush voters in a “database of approximately 260 million individuals with about 3,000 data points (e.g. hunting interest, magazine subscriptions, online habits, etc.). We also have more than 30,000 tags built off of previous identification efforts and have made hundreds of thousands of calls into early state voters.”