Who’s Winning (and Who’s Losing) the Money Race?

money-95793_1280It’s still early, but we’re starting to see early returns from the presidential campaigns’ fundraising numbers for the third quarter.

Ben Carson absolutely dominated with $20 million raised, mostly from small-dollar donors. Carson is proving that he has an exceptionally strong grassroots base of support, and his rivals will have to take him seriously in Iowa.

Here are other candidates’ third quarter fundraising results via The Wall Street Journal:

Rand Paul: $2.5 million

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul announced raising just $2.5 million, stirring speculation that he may abandon his bid.

Ted Cruz: $12.2 million

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz raised $12.2 million in the third quarter, pushing him into the upper ranks of Republican presidential hopefuls who have announced details of their fundraising hauls so far.

Mr. Cruz’s quarterly take nearly matched his second-quarter number and brings his total raised this year to more than $26 million. It also spotlights his fundraising prowess, as he raised about twice as much cash in the period as Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who stands higher in the GOP polls…

Marco Rubio: $6 million

Aides to Mr. Rubio announced at a donor retreat in Las Vegas that he had raised $6 million in the quarter, according to a person present. The receipts bring Mr. Rubio’s total haul to $18 million for the campaign, and he has about $11 million in the bank.

Jeb Bush: ???

Aides to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said he raised more than the $11.4 million he had raised by the end of June, but he hasn’t disclosed a precise figure.

It will be interesting to see how much Jeb Bush raises and if any other candidates, like John Kasich or Chris Christie, make a fundraising splash. These numbers do matter — fundraising allows candidates to buy air time, hire staff, and get people to the polls. You can’t win without money.

The big winner for the third quarter is definitely Ben Carson. He’s a real threat to win Iowa right now. You also have to give Ted Cruz props for a very solid effort.

But the big loser? It has to be Marco Rubio, who needed to have a much stronger fundraising haul. Just $6 million? That anemic effort sure seems to fly in the face of the idea that Jeb Bush’s big money, establishment donors are bolting for Rubio.

For Rubio to win the nomination, which a lot of people think might happen — PredictIt has him at 38 percent — he’ll need to dominate the money primary, and he’s not doing that right now.

Jon Schweppe is Deputy Director of Communications for American Principles in Action.