Kasich and Christie Trail Candidates in Campaign Funding

by | February 1, 2016 AT 1:00 PM

By Jack Torry

Gov. John Kasich will enter the crucial final days of the New Hampshire Republican presidential campaign with less money to spend on TV advertising than key GOP contenders he is trying to finish ahead of in the Feb. 9 primary.

In campaign finance records filed Sunday with the Federal Election Commission, an independent organization backing Kasich's quest for the Republican nomination reported having just $1.9 million available to spend at the end of last year.

Although Politico.com reported Saturday the organization -- a super-PAC called New Day for America -- has raised an additional $4 million this month from six wealthy donors, the report filed Sunday counted only money the organization had collected through the end of December.

Even with the $4 million, New Day is lags behind two super-PACs supporting former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Kasich, Rubio, Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are locked in a tight battle in New Hampshire to emerge as the favorite of the Republican establishment wing.

Right to Rise, a super-PAC supporting Bush, finished the year with $58.6 million in the bank while Conservative Solutions, which is supporting Rubio's candidacy, reported $13.9 million in available cash to spend at the end of the year.

In addition, America Leads, which is a super-PAC supporting Christie, reported $3.3 million in the bank at the end of December.

Presidential candidates have employed two ways to raise money this year. Each candidate has their own campaign committee which can only raise $2,700 per person. In addition, a number of super-PACs are backing each candidate and they can raise money in unlimited donations. But the campaign and the super-PACs are not allowed to coordinate efforts.

Kasich's own presidential campaign committee reported having $2.5 million in the bank at the end of last year. But even there, Kasich trails Rubio, who reported having $10.4 million in his own campaign committee, and Bushm whose campaign reported having $7.1 million. The Ohio governor is ahead of Christie, who had just over $1 million on hand after raising nearly $3 million in the last quarter.

Chris Schrimpf, a Kasich spokesman, said "we remain pleased with the support we continue to receive, and combined with our careful management of resources and increasing support as we rise in New Hampshire, we are in a good position to succeed in New Hampshire and execute our plan in the months ahead to secure the nomination."

According to the reports, New Day raised $3.45 million during the final three months of last year compared to $14.4 million collected by Conservative Solutions during that same period.

Throughout the final months of last year, New Day collected $250,000 apiece from Abigail Wexner, wife of The Limited founder Leslie H. Wexner; Michael Goguen, a venture capitalist from New York, and the Wendt Family Trust of California, which appears to headed by Greg Wendt, an executive at an investment management organization.

In addition, Albert Ratner, co-chairman emeritus of Forest City in Cleveland donated nearly $70,000; Robert Schottenstein of Columbus donated $44,600, and Stanley Druckenmiller, a self-made hedge fund billionaire from New York, contributed $150,000.

According to Politico, Abigail Wexner and Greg Wendt are one of the six donors who helped contribute $4 million to New Day after the December 31 filing deadline.

Presidential campaigns and the super-PACs supporting those candidates had until midnight Sunday to file their campaign reports for the last three months of last year.

(c)2016 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)