Donald Trump raised about half as much as Hillary Clinton for his presidential campaign in the first 19 days of October, putting him at a severe financial disadvantage in the crucial final days of the White House contest, new campaign finance reports filed late Thursday show.
The Republican nominee raised just $28.9 million for his campaign committee over that period, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission. His campaign and two joint GOP fundraising committees raised a total of $61 million in the first 19 days of the month -- a fall-off from September, when the three committees together pulled in $100 million, including $53 million for the Trump campaign. Trump had just $16 million in his campaign coffers on Oct. 19, compared to Hillary Clinton’s $62 million.
And there was scant evidence that the real estate billionaire will end up giving the $100 million he has claimed he is donating to his bid. Trump gave his campaign about $31,000 in in-kind contributions in the first 19 days of the month — down from the $2 million a month in cash he had been donating. His personal contributions to his campaign now total a little more than $56 million.
Meanwhile, Clinton’s already-robust fundraising ratcheted up even more this month. The Democratic nominee’s campaign and two joint fundraising committees with the party together pulled in $101 million in the 19-day stretch. At the same time, Clinton’s campaign shelled out $54 million – a slower spending rate than the previous month. That gave her a hefty stockpile of cash as she heads into the final weeks of the campaign: more than $153 million.
Campaigning Thursday in North Carolina with 12 days until the presidential election, Clinton cautioned her supporters against complacency because, she said, the contest against Trump is likely to be closer than the latest polls suggest.
Clinton, appearing on the campaign trail for the first time with first lady Michelle Obama, urged voters to stay engaged and vote because the outcome remains uncertain.
“Let’s go out and win this election!” she exclaimed at a rally at Wake Forest University in front of about 11,000 people. “Let’s make sure we vote early. Vote as soon as you can. Vote this afternoon!”
Obama also warned supporters to stay engaged, accusing Republicans of actively seeking to suppress turnout by making the election “so dirty and ugly that we don’t want any part of it.”
Clinton is hoping that some of Obama’s magnetism and support among young people and African Americans can help consolidate a lead in North Carolina. Obama has emerged as probably the Democrats’ most powerful and effective voice opposing Trump, and Clinton frequently quotes the first lady’s admonition to “go high” when critics “go low.”
Later in the evening, Clinton took her early voting message to two college campuses in Greensboro -- the University of North Carolina and North Carolina A&T, which was holding its homecoming pep rally.
In Ohio, Trump suggested Thursday night that a video of him speaking in vulgar terms about kissing, groping and trying to have sex with women may have been released illegally, and he didn’t rule out suing NBC for its release.
“Certainly it was an illegal act,” Trump told Fox News in an interview, adding later that the video “was not supposed to be on.”
Trump would not say whether he planned to take legal action against NBC Universal, which owns “Access Hollywood,” the program that was filming Trump when he was recorded in 2005.
“Well, you’ll see, you’ll see,” he said. “You’re going to see after the election, but I will tell you, first of all, it shouldn’t have been said, but it was locker room talk. And, yeah, I mean you know we’re gonna find out soon enough. I will tell you.”
As Trump was being interviewed, an airplane carrying Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the Republican vice presidential candidate, skidded off the runway at LaGuardia Airport in New York. Reporters traveling with Pence said there were no injuries, but a CNN reporter said she saw what appeared to be damage to the runway.
Trump mentioned the incident during an event in Geneva, Ohio. “And by the way, I just spoke to our future vice president, and he’s okay... Everybody’s fine.” Trump said.
Pence said in a tweet that he was “So thankful everyone on our plane is safe. Grateful for our first responders & the concern & prayers of so many. Back on the trail tomorrow!”
Trump spent the day seeking to build on a reed-thin lead during three campaign stops in the battleground state — and even suggested that the election should be scrapped.
“We should just cancel the election and just give it to Trump, right?” he asked supporters while campaigning in this midwestern industrial city. “What are we even having it for? Her policies are so bad!”
Trump said that he would reopen federal investigations into her use of a private email server when she was secretary of state and her family’s charitable foundation.
“Hillary Clinton put the office of secretary of state up for sale,” he said. “And if she got the chance, she’d put the Oval Office up for sale.”
At an event in Springfield, Trump claimed again that Clinton appeared “tired” during the debates. Calling his rival “a low energy person,” Trump seemed to imply that Clinton was on the verge of needing physical assistance.
“I watched after the last debate and after the second debate. She was tired, wow,” Trump said. “She walked off that stage, of course she had a lot of people around; they had a lot of people around her, which was smart.”
No evidence has emerged that Clinton was suffering physically during or after the debates.
Trump also took aim at the Clintons’ charitable foundation and financial dealings, pointing to private communications released by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, including a memo by top Bill Clinton aide Doug Band.
“The more emails WikiLeaks releases, the more lines between the Clinton Foundation, the secretary of state’s office and the Clintons’ personal finances, they all get blurred,” Trump said.
Band’s memo detailed what he called “Clinton Inc.,” a web of lucrative business ventures and overlapping charitable work. The memo was discovered in hacked emails from John Podesta, who is now chairman of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
In an interview published Thursday by Billboard magazine, Bill Clinton weighed in on Trump’s criticisms, saying that the attacks on his foundation are frustrating.
“It’s hard to hear because I know good and well that a lot of the people that are saying it know it’s not true. It’s an insult to all the people who have worked there,” he said in a profile of the former president’s charity and its ties to top performing artists, including Jon Bon Jovi.
Polling released Thursday afternoon by Quinnipiac University showed the tick-tock nature of the race in the closing days. According to the poll, Trump holds a one-point edge over Clinton in Georgia — 44 percent to 43 percent — but they’re tied at 44 percent each in Iowa. In North Carolina, Clinton holds a four-point advantage (47 percent to 43 percent), while she holds a 12-point edge in Virginia.
Clinton tops Trump 48 percent to 42 percent among likely voters in the tracking poll conducted jointly by The Washington Post and ABC News. Clinton’s margin in the survey has barely changed from her 47-43 edge in a mid-October Post-ABC poll, but is less than the double-digit leads in earlier waves of the tracking survey reported by ABC News through Monday.
Sullivan reported from Ohio and Phillip reported from North Carolina. Matea Gold, Anne Gearan and Krissah Thompson in Washington contributed to this report.