Cruz’s secret fundraising strength: A network of wealthy donors

27 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Bill Clinton Reveals His Philosophy of Selfies.

Wealthy investors shot skeet with Sen. Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has picked up the backing of a Texas billionaire and the state’s lieutenant governor, his campaign said Monday.

This weekend in Iowa, the pop star Katy Perry took over Hillary Clinton’s Instagram account, posting a selfie with the candidate. “#ImWithHer,” typed Katy Perry, and 47,000 likes followed. In between snaps, he offered a highly-developed philosophy of the modern form, speaking to Bloomberg Politics’s Mark Halperin. “It’s changed the social etiquette,” Clinton said. “Once people wanted to shake hands with you, now I think it’s more important to have shaken hands with you,” he laughed. “That’s what the selfie is.” “But it’s interesting,” the former president continued. “In a way I like it, though, because it’s democratized record-keeping of memories—because if you can afford a cell phone, you’ve got a camera, and a camera will operate at a fairly high resolution, with a fairly good amount of clarity, and if you need to for some reason you can print it out.” Halperin quipped that, had selfie-taking been as ubiquitous during Clinton’s gubernatorial terms as it is now, “I think everyone in Arkansas would have had at least three pictures with you.” Clinton has requested selfies himself, he said—or at least asked to be sent selfies taken with him. “I’ve been with people who were taking selfies of me, and I thought they were interesting looking—total strangers, but I thought it was an interesting setting and I wanted a record of it.” For all of his bashing of “billionaire Republican donors” who “actively despise our base,” the anti-establishment senator from Texas is being bolstered by his own robust base of wealthy contributors.

In the first nine months of the year, Cruz raised more than three times as much in the state as did Jeb Bush, according to an Associated Press analysis of donations. The Bush family is rallying around Jeb Bush on Monday at a donor event that’s taking place less than 6 miles from where Cruz is announcing his team’s additions. The structure of his donor base closely resembles that of President Obama, whose vaunted fundraising operation intensely focused on both low-dollar givers and major bundlers, bringing in record $783 million for his 2012 reelection.

But he is finding support among like-minded constitutionalists, religious conservatives and oil and gas executives, campaign finance filings and fundraising invitations show. “A lot of Wall Street is out of touch with mainstream America,” Cruz’s wife Heidi, who is on leave from her job as a managing director at Goldman Sachs and is one of his most prolific fundraisers, said recently. “That’s not our funding base.” The senator is a different person in private fundraisers than out on the campaign trail, according to people who have observed the dynamic. He doesn’t back away from his hard-line positions, but he quickly moves past them, trying to present a restrained, Harvard-educated lawyer. “People are swayed by his intellect,” said Michele “Mica” Mosbacher, a Houston fundraiser helping organize events for Cruz around the country. “He always says, ‘Ask me all the hard questions.’ And he is very polite and humble.

Those groups can take unlimited amounts of money from donors, while the campaigns themselves cannot accept contribution checks from each donor of more than $2,700 per election. Those who are supporting him admire that he will stand up for what’s right.” A Republican strategist well-connected to the donor world added: “When he’s with major donors, they expect the guy they see with all the red meat, but they instead see an intelligent, buttoned-down lawyer with real bona fides. He will say things like, basically, ‘This is politics, you’ve got go out there and sell and perform.’” At a recent fundraiser in New York, Cruz made the case that he was the candidate to unite a fractious Republican Party, arguing that he can energize evangelicals, tea partiers, military hawks and fiscal conservatives. “His feeling — and I agree with him — is that you cannot make one segment love you and another segment hate you,” said venture capitalist Ken Abramowitz, who hosted the gathering. “He stressed that he would appeal to all the segments, but still maintain his message.” Shmuley Boteach, a New Jersey rabbi and former congressional candidate, has been introducing Cruz to members of the Jewish community in New York and Los Angeles.

Boteach said Cruz is diplomatic when it comes to hot-button issues — such as the time Boteach told Cruz he has a gay brother and doesn’t think he should speak so stridently against same-sex marriage. “He’ll respond very respectfully and say, ‘OK, Shumley, we respectfully disagree,” Boteach said. “I do not find him dogmatic about it … While only about 4 percent of Bush’s campaign haul has come from contributors giving $200 or less, 41 percent of Cruz’s campaign money is coming from such small donors, fundraising records show. Those kinds of givers are especially valuable because they can provide a constant stream of cash without taking up the candidate’s time attending traditional fundraising events. By the end of September, he had raised the second-largest amount in low-dollar contributions of the GOP field: $9.9 million to retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson’s $18.2 million. The Deasons are marquee names for Cruz, but he has quietly consolidated the support of many former donors to Perry and another 2016 dropout, Wisconsin Gov.

It remains to be seen whether Cruz — who still hovers around 8 percent in national polls — will gain enough momentum to scale donations up as dramatically as Obama did in his races. At one recent breakfast fundraiser in Houston, she was so effective that she won over attendees who had not yet committed to the campaign. “I don’t want to say it’s easy and I don’t close every deal,” she said last month. “I think people want to be a part of something that addresses the main issue of the day, number one, which is Washington versus the people.” She has even been reaching out to bundlers already backing other candidates. Andrew Sabin, a Jeb Bush supporter who has had the Cruz family to his Long Island home and supported his Senate campaign, said she gave him a call this month.

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