NYT: Trump Wants GOP Help to Raise $1.5 Billion for the General Election

Farewell to the Days of Self-Funding

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Compared to his former Republican rivals as well as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump has spent very little on his campaign so far. Consider, for instance, the relatively small amount he's spent on TV and radio advertising, as spelled out in the most recent Ad Age 2016 Presidential Campaign Ad Scorecard, released on Friday.

Donald Trump.
Donald Trump. Credit: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Now, if Trump gets his way, he'll have access to a much bigger war chest for the general election, having largely self-funded his primary run. (Though for the record, according to SEC filings, his campaign has already accepted millions in small donations from supporters, and Trump's own spending has mostly come in the form of loans to his campaign.)

In a story titled "Donald Trump, in Switch, Turns to Republican Party for Fund-Raising Help" that fronts today's New York Times, the paper reports that on Monday Trump "took steps to appropriate much of the Republican National Committee's financial and political infrastructure for his presidential campaign." The story comes in the wake of Trump responding to a "Fox & Friends" question last Wednesday about the possibility of his accepting outside funds for the general election. "I think it's most likely that I will," Trump said, "because you're talking about $1 billion or $1.5 billion" for general-election campaigning.

The Times report suggests that the candidate has quite a challenge ahead of him:

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 can 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.

Predictably, some political observers have a rather sour take on Trump's reversal; see, for instance, "Donald Trump's billion-dollar betrayal: Why his 'self-financed' campaign has cozied up to the same forces that doomed his followers," by Salon's Robert Hennelly.

Why the about-face? Simply put, Trump may have had no choice. Last fall Forbes suggested that billlionaire Trump may have way less than a billion on hand in liquid assets (cash and cash equivalents) -- as you might expect of a real-estate mogul.

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