Jul 10, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Vivek Ramaswamy unveils aggressive new fundraising strategy

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy speaks during the Moms for Liberty Joyful Warriors national summit at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown on July 1 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy announced a fundraising scheme on Monday that will give supporters a 10% cut of the total money they raise for his campaign.

Why it matters: It's the latest sign of Ramaswamy's aggressive fundraising strategy to stand out and connect with grassroots donors in the crowded Republican primary.

  • His campaign said Monday that he is closing in on reaching 65,000 individual donors. The average donation size to the campaign is $30.80.

Driving the news: "The message I want to send first is, if I could snap my fingers and wave a magic wand and get the effect of the professional money machine out of politics, I would do it in a heartbeat," Ramaswamy, a businessman and author, told Axios.

  • In addition to the payment guarantee, the program, called "Vivek’s Kitchen Cabinet," will give incentives to fundraisers, such as invitations to campaign events or a phone call with Ramaswamy.
  • "If this is going to be a cloistered, hush-hush game of raising money and people get to keep a percentage of what they raise, ... then I said, 'it might as well just be everybody,'" he said.

Political bundlers collect campaign contributions from other donors, such as friends and acquaintances, often in exchange for access to the campaign.

  • "There's an entire oligopoly of people who ... all look the same as each other, like they're clones and are in the political fundraising world," Ramaswamy said.

The big picture: Ramaswamy previously told Axios that his campaign had reached the critical fundraising threshold to qualify for GOP presidential primary debates at least through October.

  • The qualification for the first debate in August is 40,000 donors, including at least 200 unique donors in each of 20 stages, a threshold that is proving to be a barrier for some underfunded Republican candidates.
  • Ramaswamy defended the individual donor requirement, saying: "The reality is, if you can't hit 40,000 donors by middle of August, you have zero chance of beating Joe Biden in an election."

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