Republican presidential hopeful John Kasich has picked up big-league financial support to help shore up a big cash disadvantage against GOP rivals Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
As of January, the Ohio governor’s campaign had raised $8.6 million, while allied super PACs and other independent groups amassed another $20.1 million. Kasich’s campaign had $1.5 million in cash on hand at the end of January, having spent 83 percent of what it had raised.
The figures trail the amounts that Trump has spent personally and that Cruz has raised over the course of their campaigns. With the need to expand rapidly into states holding primaries in the next few weeks, Kasich will need to raise cash quickly.
Many of Jeb Bush’s most generous financial donors have sat out of the presidential race since he dropped out in February, and Sen. Marco Rubio’s biggest benefactors are up for grabs since he suspended his campaign this week.
As of Friday, Kasich had picked up a handful of new “bundlers,” including billionaire businessman and philanthropist Robert Day; billionaire developer Rick Caruso; Bobbie Kilberg, a longtime GOP fundraiser based in Northern Virginia; and Richard Roeder, a California venture capitalist, campaign aides said.
Day donated $1 million to Right to Rise USA, the super PAC that supported Bush’s presidential campaign. Roeder gave $25,000 to that group and donated to Rubio and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), who dropped out of the race shortly before Christmas.
Kilberg was one of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s most steadfast financial supporters. After Christie gave up his presidential bid, she and her husband, Bill, became co-chairs of Bush’s finance committee. She heads a Virginia technology trade association.
Caruso, who has flirted with running for mayor of Los Angeles, has been unaffiliated with any GOP presidential campaign this cycle, but he helped raise money for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. More recently, Caruso’s son, Greg, gained attention among political types during a Republican presidential debate broadcast by CNN. Seated behind moderator Jake Tapper, the younger Caruso was dubbed “Hot Debate Guy” on social media by viewers intrigued by his looks.
More bundlers, who can help Kasich raise the millions needed to continue his campaign, are set to be announced in the coming days, the governor’s campaign aides said.
To date, billionaire Ken Langone, another former Christie backer, stood out as one of Kasich’s most prominent financial supporters. He signed on in February.
Matea Gold and Anu Narayanswamy contributed to this report.