President Trump’s reelection campaign manager says he’s “comfortable and confident” that money won’t be an issue as the race for the White House enters the final stretch run to November’s general election.
“We are now carefully managing the budget,” campaign manager Bill Stepien told reporters on Tuesday.
“I consider it to be among, if not the most important, tasks for any campaign manager. Recreating the budget was the first thing I did upon becoming the campaign manager and it’s something we as a team managed every single day," Stepien emphasized. "From this day forward to Election Day, we’ll have more resources to spend than we had in 2016 and it won’t be close, it will be by a factor of two times or three times what we had to spend on the campaign we were a part of in 2016.”
A very frugal Trump campaign was outspent by a more than two-to-one margin by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s team in the 2016 presidential election. But four years later, the Trump campaign had spent more than $800 million by late July, when Stepien replaced Brad Parscale as campaign manager. That’s far more than the roughly $500 million the Trump campaign spent in the entire 2016 campaign.
Immediately after taking over, Stepien stopped the campaign’s TV ad buys -- as he reworked Trump’s advertising strategy -- shifting resources to the states were early voting would soon be getting underway.
Speaking with reporters, Stepien also downplayed the importance of campaign cash, saying that “if money was the only factor determining winners and losers, Jeb Bush would have been the (GOP) nominee in 2016 and we’d have a second President Clinton in office.”
Stepien’s comments came on the same day the president confirmed a Bloomberg report that he’s considering spending $100 million of his own money on his reelection bid.
“If I have to, I will,” Trump told reporters. “Whatever it takes, we have to win.”
The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC) have combined hauled in a staggering $1.2 billion since the president launched his reelection bid in 2017, soon after entering the White House.
But Democratic president nominee Joe Biden’s fundraising has surged this spring and summer, and Trump’s once massive campaign cash on hand advantage over Biden had all but disappeared by the end of July. The New York Times on Tuesday highlighted the Trump campaign’s potential cash woes.
Biden’s campaign announced last week that it and the Democratic National Committee brought in an eye-popping $364.5 million in August, shattering the previous record of the amount a presidential campaign had raised in a single month. The Trump campaign has yet to reveal what it and the RNC brought in last month. But they did tout that they hauled in $77 million during the four days of the Republican National Convention.
The Biden campaign vastly outspent the Trump campaign the past three weeks to run commercials on broadcast and cable TV – and they’ve reserved $280 million to run ads from the beginning of September through Election Day on Nov. 3. The Trump campaign had an initial reservation of $140 million.
Biden campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillion told political reporters late last week that “we have a far greater and far wider footprint than Trump.”
Stepien touted a new commercial – titled the “Great American Comeback” – that he said will start running Tuesday in at least four battleground states and the launch of radio ads in urban markets.
But Stepien seemed to de-emphasize the importance of TV ads, as he spotlighted the huge investment made by the Trump campaign and the RNC in the early setting of up of field teams in the key battleground states. The Biden campaign – which has been playing catch-up – announced on Saturday that they now have 2,500 staffers in the battlegrounds.
"It’s also too late to be adding staff, as I see Joe Biden doing now in certain states around the country," Stepien emphasized. "We’ve had staff in certain states across the country for two years, two years to develop relationships and roots in states, regions and counties, to get to know elected officials and activists and volunteers. You can’t do that in eight weeks.”
He predicted that “our early investments in states is going to move the needle in ways Joe Biden’s campaign can’t do."
Stepien also disputed the public opinion polls that suggest the president is behind Biden nationally and narrowly trailing in many of the key battleground states. Stepien said there’s a “wide disparity” between the Trump campaign’s internal numbers and the surveys “that we see broadcast on TV.”
The Trump campaign – in their briefing – also spelled out seven different scenarios to 270 electoral votes, the amount needed to win reelection.