War chest gives Clinton huge edge in race’s last days
With just 11 days to go until Americans choose a new president, the Republican nominee is revving up the pace of his campaign, challenging his rival Friday in battleground Iowa.
While Clinton holds the overall poll lead, a handful of states — including Iowa, where voting has already begun — look to be close-fought.
Both candidates will be in Cedar Rapids within hours of each other as they vie to drum up support across the rolling plains of the Midwestern state.
From there, Clinton heads to the state capital Des Moines to rally voters to the polls. Trump kicks off the day in New Hampshire, jetting to Maine and wrapping up with a rally for 5,000 people in an open-air amphitheater in Cedar Rapids.
But while the 70-year-old Trump still draws the bigger crowds, it is now plain that he is failing to pull in donations to match: contributions to his campaign slumped in October even as the bitter race goes down to the wire.
Both camps filed their campaign accounts Thursday night for the period leading up to October 19: they confirm the Democrats’ overpowering lead in the money game, even though the total sums raised fall short of the records set in 2012.
For the election home stretch, the 69-year-old Clinton has at her disposal a party war chest almost four times that of her rival: $62 million against $16 million.
When secondary sources of funding are taken into account, the Clinton treasury rises to $172 million against $73 million for the Republican, making it an exceptionally unbalanced race in financial terms, according to Politico.
What does this mean in practice? That American television screens will be awash in Democratic ads in the days leading up to November 8.
The other surprise from the figures reported to the Federal Election Commission: the billionaire Republican donated a measly $31,000 to his own campaign this month — despite promises to contribute $100 million by Election Day.
The Manhattan real estate mogul — who claims to be worth $10 billion — has forked out $56 million of his own money since launching his maverick White House bid last year — but so far no sign of the other $44 million he pledged to spend.
And as the vote draws near, buying ad time will become increasingly difficult — and costly.
– Cold sweat in Utah –
Big Republican donors and billionaire business leaders are not sitting idle, however: they are funneling their money towards congressional races in hope of saving the Republican majority.
According to The New York Times, tens of millions of dollars have been donated to shore up candidates in the Senate, where the majority could hinge on just one or two seats.
Trump’s White House bid was sent into a tailspin this month by the release of a 2005 video capturing him bragging about the ability to grope women with impunity, followed by a string of accusations of sexual misconduct — which he denies.
As his campaign faltered, the nominee piled on the defiant rhetoric, claiming the allegations were part of a plot to steal the election, and threatening not to recognize the outcome if he loses.
Republicans — dozens of whom had already broken ranks with their controversial nominee — have now gone into damage control mode, determined not to let the candidate pull the party down with him.
In a sign of the Republicans’ troubles, Trump’s running mate Mike Pence travelled this week to Utah, a staunchly conservative western state where the party doesn’t usually need to campaign at all for the White House.
This time around, however, an independent candidate, Utah native Evan McMullin, has overtaken Trump in the polls as the electorate turns its back on the bombastic nominee.
“My message to Utah was to say it’s time for Republicans to come home to elect Donald Trump as president,” Pence told CBS on Friday.
Trump’s loyal lieutenant has relentlessly defended him — echoing his claim that pollsters and the media are colluding with Democrats to rig the election.
Speaking on MSNBC, he slammed “the documented bias in the national media that seems to be doing half of Hillary Clinton’s work for her every day.”
Rallying supporters Thursday in Ohio — where he holds a narrow poll lead — Trump hammered away at the former secretary of state, drawing on the drip-drip of revelations from stolen campaign emails to portray her and her husband Bill Clinton as morally corrupt.