Ted Cruz is running a well-organized campaign. His super PACs -- not so much.

At least eight independent political groups are jockeying to support Cruz now that he has risen in the polls as perhaps the strongest challenger to front­runner Donald Trump. The dynamic has confused wealthy donors and brought disarray to the otherwise orderly political operation that surrounds the freshman senator from Texas.

“We’re trying to figure out who has the best management team, the most efficient cost structure,” said Doug Deason, adding that he is a bit baffled by the various entities. “I just don’t think we need a bunch of people doing different things, maybe putting out different messages that don’t match up.”

The swelling number of pro-Cruz super PACs illustrates a challenge posed by the hands-on approach rich donors are taking in the 2016 elections. After seeing little return on the massive sums they gave in 2012, major conservative givers are now deeply immersed in the tactics of the groups they are financing — and in some cases, running their own political operations.