The Boston Globe, “Trump behind Clinton, past GOP nominees, in Mass. fund-raising,” August 24, 2016
By Tracy Jan and Victoria McGrane
Donald Trump, despite a significant escalation in his fund-raising activities over the past two months, is trailing far behind Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in raising money in traditionally lucrative states like Massachusetts that for decades have provided deep-pocketed donors from both political parties.
Trump raised just $674,122 from the Bay State as of July 31, only 6 percent of Clinton’s $10.8 million, according to the latest campaign finance reports filed over the weekend with the Federal Election Commission.
It is not clear how much additional money Trump has raised in Massachusetts since the reporting deadline; he held two August fund-raisers, in Osterville and Nantucket, that were well attended but included out-of-state attendees.
The just-filed FEC report shows that Trump is on pace to fall behind the past two Republican nominees, Mitt Romney and John McCain, in his ability to milk the Massachusetts GOP fund-raising machine. Some donors are choosing to give to Republicans other than Trump, and some are simply sitting the race out altogether.
Seth Klarman, a Boston billionaire who was the biggest donor to Republicans from New England in the 2014 election cycle, is now supporting Clinton.
“A typical Republican politician would do pretty well in Massachusetts, but Donald Trump is not a typical Republican politician,” said Bob Maginn, former chairman of the Massachusetts Republican Party and major Romney donor. “He’s running an unconventional campaign, so if he wins, he’s not going to do it in the conventional sense by raising a billion dollars.”
“From a fund-raising point of view, Massachusetts is a state that you could call hugely important to most Republicans,” said Maginn, who has been raising money for Republicans since Bob Dole won the 1996 GOP nomination.
Maginn served on Marco Rubio’s finance team during the primary and plans to vote for Trump in November, but so far he has chosen to channel his money — $25,000 this summer, he said — to the Republican National Committee instead of directly to Trump’s campaign.
“The money is for the ground game to support all Republican candidates,” said Maginn, who has turned down invitations to three Trump fund-raisers in Massachusetts, of his RNC donation. “That’s something I could get behind. Fortunately for me, I’ve been in Europe this whole summer, so I had a built-in excuse to take a pass.”
Trump and the Republican National Committee have a joint fund-raising agreement that gives wealthy donors a vehicle to contribute up to $449,400 toward the election of Republicans for local, state, and national office. Trump’s campaign can accept only the maximum of $2,700 from each individual.
Although Massachusetts has been a reliably blue state, Trump won the state’s GOP primary by 31 points, among his best during the nominating contest. His campaign suggests that he has broad support among blue-collar voters that may not translate into the type of high-level donors who Romney and others have successfully tapped to fund their campaigns.
“This is a campaign funded by the American people who truly believe in Mr. Trump’s vision and ability to make our country better than ever before,” said Hope Hicks, a Trump spokeswoman.
Maginn said Trump is underperforming in Massachusetts because he doesn’t have the built-in political support that candidates had in the past.
“He doesn’t have Charlie Baker and Mitt Romney calling everybody and putting their networks to work,” Maginn said.
Governor Baker and former governor Romney have both said they would not vote for Trump. Romney has actively campaigned against him.
Former senator Scott Brown, a Trump supporter, has headlined a couple of Trump’s fund-raising events. But Brown, who decamped for New Hampshire for a failed Senate bid there, “may have lost a little bit of clout in Massachusetts,” Maginn said.
Romney, who had an advantage as the state’s former governor and whose campaign was based in Boston, raised $11.9 million from Massachusetts donors during the 2012 campaign, about half as much as President Obama, who raised $23.9 million. In the 2008 cycle, McCain took in $4.1 million, about 16 percent of the $25.1 million Obama hauled in from the Bay State.
Despite its reputation of being a liberal cash cow, Massachusetts has been fertile grounds for Republican donors in the past. In recent presidential cycles, Massachusetts ranked among the top 13 states for Republican fund-raising.
For Trump, though, Massachusetts falls to 17th place, behind states such as Tennessee and Washington, which are not traditionally known as fund-raising powerhouses.
For Clinton donations, Massachusetts ranks fifth. Clinton regularly visits the Bay State to scoop up cash, most recently last weekend, when she held a series of fund-raisers on the Cape and Islands that included the singer Cher.
Trump’s first Bay State fund-raiser, a June luncheon at Boston’s Langham Hotel, drew hordes of protesters but raised more than half a million dollars, according to a GOP fund-raiser familiar with the figure.
Earlier this month, billionaire Bill Koch hosted a fund-raiser for Trump at his Cape Cod home as part of a joint fund-raising event with the Republican National Committee. That event, too, attracted protesters and brought in more than half a million, according to the fund-raising source.
Koch’s more prominent brothers, Charles and David, both influential conservative donors, have said they would not support Trump. Trump also had a fund-raiser in Nantucket, which drew many out-of-state donors. Those events were not included in the just-released report.
Trump had famously bragged about self-funding his campaign as he swept the Republican primaries. His delay in building a fund-raising apparatus helps explain his low numbers, said David Tamasi, a Republican lobbyist and former Romney donations bundler who is now raising money for Trump.
“Considering where they started, they’re in a pretty good place,” Tamasi said.
The picture in Massachusetts is a microcosm of the national fund-raising dynamics, where Clinton has had a much more robust operation that has allowed her to hire more staff, open more campaign offices, and air more television ads.
Nationally, the Clinton campaign raised $52 million, while Trump pulled in $37 million in July, including a $2 million contribution from Trump himself, the latest campaign finance filings showed. Both candidates drew most of their donations from California, New York, Texas, and Florida.
Overall, Clinton maintains a healthy cash advantage over Trump. The former secretary of state reported ending July with $58 million in the bank, while Trump reported $38 million on hand.
Clinton’s super PAC has amassed nearly $39 million, while Trump’s super PACs reported less than $4 million.
Robert Weston, a 76-year-old retired paper products salesman from Waltham, gave Trump $28 in June, a small investment he hopes will make Washington work again. He criticized current Republican office holders, including members of the Tea Party movement, for failing to challenge Obama and accomplishing “squat.”
Trump may be a little bombastic, Weston said, “but he seems to be able to get things done. That’s what I want to see from our government.”
“If everybody gives a buck,” he figured, “that would help that candidate. I don’t care if he has billions or millions of dollars.”
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