Gingrich campaign tries to stay financially afloat with small donations


Amid questions of whether there’s enough campaign cash to sustain Newt Gingrich’s vow to stay in the race, a new fundraising tactic was employed at his first public appearance here in Delaware: photos with the candidate for $50 apiece.

At high dollar fundraisers, the campaign has asked for $250 donations in return for a photo op with the candidate, but this was the first public event where supporters were asked to commit a donation in return for a photo. Until Monday, Gingrich has happily obliged anyone who wanted to snap pictures with him at his rallies.

“Some campaigns make you travel all the way to Wall Street to pay $2,500 for a photo with the candidate,” said spokesman R.C. Hammond in an email to reporters contextualizing the new move. “We are trying out a new tactic and asking or supporters at our rallies for a nominal donation.”

“And guess what, it is working,” he continued. “We have over 175,000 doors who contribute on average $50 to $100 at a time.”

But Gingrich cited his 175,000 donor on March 9 in Alabama, before his disappointing loss there and in Mississippi. The candidate hasn’t notched a first place finish since the Super Tuesday win in his home state of Georgia, meaning the use of 175,000 as a reference point may serve as a thermometer gauge of the campaign’s recent money troubles as opposed to its successes.

It’s not just photos that the Gingrich campaign is hoping will raise money, it’s campaign swag as well, which Hammond pointed out.

Whereas Santorum’s campaign reportedly raised over $300 thousand by offering trademark sweater vest for anyone who donated $100 or more, the Gingrich camp is courting even smaller donations than that.

For $7.50, supporters can go online to the campaign’s “official store” to buy a “small pet bandana” in red, which according to the website “usually ships in 1 to 2 business days” and is “Made in the USA!”

Gingrich swag ranges from buttons costing $2 apiece to a $60 “Victory Package” assortment of Newt 2012 goods.

The Gingrich store, which offers 17 options, is dwarfed by the store operated by President Obama’s re-election operation, which features over a hundred goods and according to FEC reports, is stocked with over $758,000 in merchandise.

Worth noting about the Gingrich store: there is nothing that costs $2.50, otherwise known as one gallon of Newt gas which the candidate has often asked his supporters to donate.

Absent too are the “President Algae versus President Drilling” posters and desk sets the candidate has been touting on the stump as items soon to be available for purchase online.