Newspaper article International New York Times

Trump, in Switch, Turns to the Republican Party for Fund-Raising Help

Newspaper article International New York Times

Trump, in Switch, Turns to the Republican Party for Fund-Raising Help

Article excerpt

Donald J. Trump's campaign took steps to expand its fund-raising resources amid concerns that the Democrats would have a big advantage in the general election.

Donald J. Trump has taken steps to appropriate much of the Republican National Committee's financial and political infrastructure for his presidential campaign, amid signs that he and the party would lag dangerously behind the Democrats in raising money for the general election.

Mr. Trump, who by the end of March had spent around $40 million of his fortune on the primaries, has said that he may need as much as $1.5 billion for the fall campaign, but that he will seek to raise it from donors rather than continue to self-finance.

But Mr. Trump has no fund-raising apparatus to resort to, no network of prolific bundlers to call upon, and little known experience with the type of marathon, one-on-one serial salesmanship and solicitousness that raising so much money is likely to require - - even if individuals are able to contribute up to the current limit of $334,000 at a time to the party. And he has to do it all in six months, with a deeply divided party that is still absorbing the fact that Mr. Trump is its standard-bearer.

"No one should underestimate how hard it would be for any nominee to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in a very short period of time," said Mike DuHaime, who was the top strategist for the presidential campaign of Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.

While Mr. Trump's continued feud with the Republican establishment was likely to cheer his supporters, his intense need for money to run his general election campaign suggests the degree to which he will rely heavily on the party's existing infrastructure.

Underscoring the urgency with which Mr. Trump and Republicans will need to increase their fund-raising, some of the party's allies who spent enormous sums in the 2012 election now appear likely to stay on the sidelines in the presidential race -- including the vast Koch brothers network, which had pledged to spend nearly $900 million in 2016.

Mark Holden, chairman of the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, one of the Koch network's main umbrella groups, signaled that it would require a significant change in tactics by Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, for his group to open the spigot.

"If during the general election cycle a candidate were able to garner support from the public with a positive message in support of the issues we care about, and did not engage in personal attacks and mudslinging, we would consider potentially getting involved," Mr. Holden said. "That hasn't happened yet, and there is no indication that this will happen given the current tone and tenor of the various campaigns."

The Karl Rove-led group American Crossroads is also in a wait- and-see crouch, with officials saying they have no immediate plans to buttress the Republican nominee. Both it and the Kochs' network are now expected to focus more on aiding Republicans' efforts to retain their majority in the Senate.

Republican Party officials have pressed Mr. Trump to sign a joint fund-raising agreement, which would allow him to raise money for the national committee and for his own campaign simultaneously. …

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