Alternate headline: “Because of amnesty push, Rubio rakes in $3 million in second-quarter fundraising.”
Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio raised $3 million in the second quarter of 2013, a source familiar with a new Federal Election Commission finance report told Fox News.
The second quarter total is 31 percent more than the amount Rubio raised in the first quarter and brings his total for the first half of 2013 to $5.28 million.
That represents a strong showing for Rubio’s joint fundraising committee, the Rubio Victory Committee, which raises money for Rubio’s Reclaim America PAC and his re-election committee.
How much of that 31-percent increase is due to new grassroots donors kicking in cash to encourage him on immigration reform and how much of it is big-money establishment Republicans showering him with dough to say thanks? (In the first quarter, when his immigration initiative was revving up, he had 15,000 new donors.) The Hill reported last month that Rubio had “assembled a team of heavyweight Washington insiders,” stocked with “well-connected lobbyists and fundraisers,” to help him raise money. Beltway GOPers are no doubt grateful to him for helping with their signature outreach effort to Latino voters and business interests are grateful for helping with the eternal effort to lower labor costs. The second-quarter PAC report isn’t out yet so we don’t know the breakdown of his latest donors yet. But, for what it’s worth, sources in Rubio’s camp tell Jen Rubin that most of them are grassroots, not insiders:
A source familiar with the finance report tells Right Turn that the majority of the donations to the Rubio Victory Committee in the last quarter were small-dollar donations (less than $200) from grassroots contributors. The new reports, the sources says, will also show Rubio with $3 million of cash on hand in his political committees, including $980,000 in the Reclaim America PAC and $1.97 million in his Senate reelection committee.
In other words, he has the ability to raise big money, and his role in immigration reform if anything has enhanced his profile. In fact, there are gobs of GOP donors ranging from business leaders to experienced campaign officials to evangelicals (some, but not all) who favor immigration reform and think it is essential for the party’s image.
A consultant friend tells me that 62 percent of the money contributed to Rubio’s PAC in the first quarter came from small donors versus 37 percent that came from large, so it’s nothing new for Rubio to be doing well with grassroots Republicans even in the midst of an immigration initiative. There are, to be sure, many pro-reform righties and he is, after all, the face of GOP immigration efforts. Not surprising that they might want to show solidarity with him, especially since he’s been taking a beating from conservative media lately. On the flip side, there’s probably some chunk of low-information Republican donors who are only dimly aware of his role in immigration reform and the details of the Gang of Eight bill and are sending him dough because they like him personally and think he’s darned solid on TV. In fact,, not only is Rubio keeping a low profile on immigration this month but one of his latest fundraising pitches conspicuously fails to mention immigration at all. Direct quote:
“Now, with the full weight of the liberal Washington elite’s attack machine firmly fixed on me in a frantic attempt to diminish my effectiveness… I’m reaching out to ask you to lend me a hand today,” says the letter, which is signed “Proud to Stand, Marco Rubio.”
There are, almost certainly, Republicans out there who really believe that the liberal elite are attacking Rubio daily instead of slobbering all over him for helping to push amnesty. But look: Most people who care enough about politics to shell out money for a candidate probably have some basic sense of where he is on prominent issues. It’s only logical to expect that Rubio’s prominence on such a hot-button subject will spark passionate polarized reactions on both ends. Some people who liked him just fine six months ago have written him off forever now over immigration; other people who liked him just fine six months ago have embraced him for showing balls in defying conservative orthodoxy and going all-in on an issue that’s politically perilous. Go figure that they’re going to donate. The question is, are there more of the former or of the latter? And if there are more of the former, are there so many of them that he’s in trouble now for 2016 notwithstanding his fundraising boost? I’m skeptical but we’ll see.