February 2, 2018

DON’T GET COCKY: Trump Makes Quick Work of Re-Election Fundraising. “President and his super PAC appeal to supporters big and small to build massive war chest—faster than any prior White House occupant.”

In the past year, Mr. Trump has appealed to supporters big and small to build up a re-election war chest, held nine political rallies in states he won in 2016 and aired campaign-sponsored television commercials to promote his policy agenda. He has also embraced the political action committees and major donors he once called a scourge on governing.

Mr. Trump’s campaign and an outside group that backs him collected more than $73 million last year, according to Federal Election Commission filings and interviews with officials at America First, a part-super PAC, part-nonprofit group that routinely meets with Mr. Trump and top White House officials to discuss political strategy. The campaign’s $43 million haul is four times what President Barack Obama raised in his first two years in office, a period when he wasn’t actively fundraising.

Indeed, no president who has served under modern campaign finance laws that date back to President Jimmy Carter has held a re-election fundraiser before entering his third year in office, said Brendan Doherty, an associate professor of political science at the U.S. Naval Academy who has researched presidential campaigning. Mr. Trump had eight in his first year.

If Trump continues to deliver on jobs and wage increases to Rust Belt and Midwest Obama-to-Trump voters, that warchest will be overkill.

On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with a little overkill.

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