Before politicians decide whether they’ll put themselves through the grind of running for the nation’s highest office, eager fans create grassroots fundraising groups to demonstrate there is support out there for their favorite pols.
Most famous is the “Ready for Hillary” effort, which raised $2.5 million in three months this spring to build momentum around a Hillary Clinton candidacy. And Tuesday, a “Ready for Warren” group was launched to shore up support for liberal-fave Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), in hopes that, despite her protests, she’ll run for president.
Surprisingly, there are not as many organized “Please Politician X run for President” groups as you’d think. There is not one started (yet) for Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) or for Jeb Bush. Nor one for Vice President Biden. But there are several efforts underway – some active, others dormant.
So how are these other efforts faring? We took a look at various Federal Election Commission filings with the word “draft” or “ready” in the committee name.
Ready for Christie
The super PAC created by two Ohio University students hoping for a Chris Christie run brought in a paltry $334.93 last year. The PAC did not file a report in 2014, getting a terse reminder from the FEC on May 2 that failure to do so could result in a fine or penalty. Matt McKnight, the treasurer, told the Loop he’s “not authorized to talk about” the PAC, but that they’d be “putting out a statement” soon on the PAC’s upcoming activity and would be filing an FEC report at the end of the month.
Draft Ted Cruz for President
The effort to get Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to run in 2016 picked up this quarter. The group brought in $170,396.16 from April through June bringing its entire haul so far this year to $198,052.38. The super PAC’s founder, Raz Shafer, wrote about launching it on RedState in mid-March.
National Draft Ben Carson for President
The group pushing for the conservative doctor who challenged President Obama on health care to his face during a national prayer breakfast brought in $3.4 million (yes, you read that correctly) in the second quarter of the year. Its year-to-date contributions are at almost $5.8 million. Carson, in an interview with Parade Magazine published last weekend, said he would evaluate the political landscape after the November midterm elections, and that he thinks Cruz would be a good candidate.
The group hoping progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) challenges Clinton from the left raised $3,538.42 from January through March. However, the lone donor was Vermont state representative Christopher Pearson, who also happens to be the PAC’s treasurer. Pearson told the Loop he has mailed in the PAC’s second quarter filing, which will show he raised about $1,000 in small donations. “It hasn’t been a big push, but I’m hoping the third quarter will be more exciting,” he said. “I want [Sanders] to run. I think the country needs him.”
Draft Sarah Palin
The group was created in 2011 to generate support for a Palin 2012 run. But it didn’t raise any money. As of the end of March, it still had zero contributions, though it continues to file quarterly reports with the FEC. The PAC’s treasurer is Randy Goodwin, a California Republican behind other “draft” efforts, including one for former Florida congressman Allen West, as well as other pro-Republican fundraising groups, which have been called out as disingenuous efforts.
There’s still an active PAC to convince former vice president Al Gore to give it another go, but the group hasn’t raised any money or filed a report since July 2012. It was first created to raise money for Gore to run in 2008. As of its last filing two years ago, the group had $74,813 on hand, but had zero contributions.
With a deep field of buzzed-about candidates, especially on the Republican bench, we expect many more of these efforts will continue to pop up as 2016 nears. Until then, looks like the battle of the summer is Team Clinton v. Team Warren.