DES MOINES — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie raised nearly $3 million for his Republican presidential bid in the fourth quarter of 2015 and entered January with just over $1 million on hand, senior officials with his campaign said Sunday.
Christie's haul of $2.95 million in the final three months of the year brings the total raised for his campaign to $7.16 million. Although that amount puts him far behind Republican fundraising leaders including Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.), Christie has kept his operation relatively lean and his advisers stressed that he has avoided some of the budget pitfalls of such rivals as former Florida governor Jeb Bush.
"We've done a lot more with a lot less," said Mike DuHaime, Christie's chief strategist. "We haven't had any of the problems that other campaigns had with spending. … We've been smart and judicious."
DuHaime said Christie had enough money in the bank to fund his staffing, advertising and turnout needs in New Hampshire and South Carolina, whose primaries are in February.
“It’s put us in a great position to give this a little push at the end," DuHaime said.
As of Jan. 1, the Christie campaign had 40 paid staffers, most of whom have been working in Iowa and New Hampshire. Staff overhead accounts for just 24 percent of overall expenditures, the campaign said.
Christie has focused much of his attention and resources on New Hampshire, and his advisers said they are confident that he will finish strong enough in the Feb. 9 primary there. He has been competing for so-called establishment donors with Bush, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.).
Christie is planning to deploy some of his Iowa staff members to South Carolina immediately after Monday's caucuses, and the campaign has reserved some television advertising time in South Carolina, DuHaime said.
“We’ve already put some building blocks in South Carolina, but a big part of our tactical plan is to do well in Iowa and New Hampshire and have some consolidation in our lane that will allow us to raise more money," he said. "We expect an infusion of donors and support after New Hampshire."