On June 30, Right to Rise collected an additional $3.5 million in donations from 82 contributors, including $1 million from Shahla Ansary, the wife of former Iranian diplomat Hushang Ansary, who had already given $1 million in February.
In all, two dozen individuals and entities gave a least $1 million to the pro-Bush super PAC, helping it raise a record $103 million. Bush spent much of the year headlining high-dollar events for the group, while maintaining that he had not yet decided whether to run.
By early June, Bush was preparing for his mid-month announcement, constraining his ability to help fundraise for the super PAC. Still, many of his backers were confident that Right to Rise would easily surpass the $100 million mark.
But other people familiar with the situation told The Washington Post on June 9 that the group was unlikely to reach that milestone by the end of the month.
During that period, Bush officially announced his bid and hit the campaign trail.
Among the big givers in the final three weeks were Texas energy executive Richard Kinder, who gave $1 million on June 9; retired hedge fund manager Julian Robertson, who donated $1 million on June 10; and Florida health care executive Miguel Fernandez, who contributed $2 million on June 26. The Coral Gables-based billionaire was the biggest overall donor to Right to Rise, giving more than $3 million in all.
Many mid-sized donors also stepped up, giving additional six-figure sums in the final weeks.
"I always believe you don’t contribute it all once," said Bruce Sherman, a retired money manager in Naples, who wrote the super PAC a check for $250,000 on June 18, doubling the amount he had given earlier in the year. "It’s a lot of money."
Sherman said he has not been a big political contributor in the past, but decided to back the super PAC because of his respect for the former Florida governor.
"I believe that Jeb is extraordinarily bright and someone who is very electable," he said. "I think we need a strong leader who has views who are toward the center of the Republican party, and he is the right person at the right time for the United States."
"Unfortunately," Sherman added, "it takes a lot of money to run for president of the United States."
Anu Narayanswamy contributed to this report.