Sep 7, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump faces surprising cash crunch

President Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Latrobe, Pa., on Thursday evening

President Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Latrobe, Pa., on Thursday evening. Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Money concerns are very real for President Trump's campaign — an unusual predicament for a sitting president, and one that worries veteran Republican operatives, with Trump so far behind in swing states as the race climaxes.

Why it matters: The campaign's view is that Trump will get his message out, and he depends less on paid media than normal politicians. But the number of states Trump has to worry about has actually grown, and Joe Biden's massive August fundraising haul has given his campaign a lift as early voting begins.

The New York Times leads today's paper with a big Labor Day scene-setter with several intriguing references to money problems for Trump:

  • "The light television spending and advertising blackouts in some key states have mystified allies," The Times reports.
  • Trump "is expected to increase television spending next week, but several Republicans said that Bill Stepien, Mr. Trump’s campaign manager since July, was taking a cautious approach after the former leadership spent huge sums on television and digital ads earlier this year, to no discernible effect."

Update ... Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh said in a statement: "President Trump’s fundraising is breaking records and we are paying close attention to the budget, allowing us to invest twice as much from now until Election Day than we did in 2016."

  • "President Trump's reelection strategy reflects the unique 2020 campaign calendar and we're confident that his success in rebuilding our economy ... will prove the pivotal contrast this fall."

Last Monday, AP's Brian Slodysko reported that the Trump campaign had pulled most TV ads over the previous week, ceding the airwaves to Biden, who was outspending Trump by more than 10 to 1.

  • Biden and DNC raised a stunning $365 million in August, breaking the record for one month of presidential fundraising.
  • At the end of July, before the announcement of Sen. Kamala Harris swelled Biden's fundraising, Trump reported slightly more cash on hand.
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