What to Know in Washington: GOP Primary Drives Fundraising Test

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Republican presidential candidates face an early test next month of whether they can raise enough money to sustain their campaigns through party primaries and break away from a growing GOP field.

Frontrunner Donald Trump is sticking with his battle-tested strategy of relying on a wide network of small-dollar donors to fund his bid. His challengers are hurriedly crisscrossing the country this month to woo wealthy donors to bankroll their campaigns ahead of a July 15 report detailing how much money they raised during the second quarter.

That disclosure — the first look at how the presidential hopefuls fared during the early days on the stump — will signal to voters whether their bids have potential and could convince other donors to help contenders make it onto the first debate stage in August. These potentially divergent strategies could also lead to a Republican race pitting cash from the 1% versus everyone else.

Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — who trails Trump by roughly 30 percentage points in FiveThirtyEight’s average of primary presidential polls and whose campaign touted that it raised more than $8 million within the first 24 hours of launch — is pressing on. He attended six fundraisers in early June in Texas, including a Houston event co-hosted by conservative Texas mega-donor Richard Weekley. On June 19, he will raise funds over a breakfast in Sacramento, California.

For candidates currently polling in the single digits — Mike Pence, Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, Rep. Tim Scott (S.C.), Chris Christie, and Asa Hutchinson — the July 15 deadline is crucial to show that they have the backing from big spenders influential in Republican politics. But they also need to have at least 40,000 unique donors across the country to make the first GOP debate. The Haley and Ramaswamy campaigns say they’ve already met the donor requirement.

Even President Joe Biden, who isn’t facing serious competition in his primary, is going on a fundraising blitz ahead of the same disclosure deadline. He’s attending events in Chicago hosted by Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, as well as stops in the San Francisco area — home to deep-pocketed Democratic donors such as climate activist Tom Steyer and entrepreneur Mark Pincus. Read the full story from Laura Davison, Nancy Cook, and Bill Allison.

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  • Top-secret documents were left on a ballroom stage for three months. Some of the nation’s most prized secrets spilled out of a box and were scattered across a floor. Others were stacked in a bathroom shower. An attack plan was waved in front of a writer. Read more.

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  • The House is back at 2 p.m. to kick off a week with votes on bills targeting federal regulations broadly and gas stoves specifically.
  • The Senate returns at 3 p.m. for votes on Biden’s nominees.


  • At 11:30 a.m., Biden and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff celebrate College Athlete Day at the White House.
  • The president holds a 3:15 p.m. meeting with NATO Secretary General Jen Stoltenberg to discuss the upcoming NATO Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania.
  • At 6 p.m., Biden delivers remarks at the Chiefs of Mission Reception at the White House.

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To contact the reporters on this story: Brandon Lee in Washington at blee@bgov.com; Giuseppe Macri in Washington at gmacri@bgov.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kayla Sharpe at ksharpe@bloombergindustry.com

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