By WILL STEAKIN, KENDALL KARSON and SOO RIN KIM, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign committee is entering the critical final stretch of his second bid for the White House with just $63 million left in the bank — a significant financial deficit for the incumbent compared to his cash-flushed challenger, Joe Biden, the latest campaign disclosure reports show.
The sum was a stunning reversal for a campaign that in the spring boasted $180 million more on hand than Biden and Democrats, as the former vice president was coming out of a competitive primary as the presumptive Democratic nominee.
Seven months later, the Biden campaign committee closed out September with $177 million in the bank, which is nearly triple his rival’s total.
Trump’s money supply, which was reported just one day after he flew to Newport Beach, California for a fundraiser in between stops across the battleground map for back-to-back rallies, also reflects how dramatically his fundraising is withering.
Trump’s team raised more than $1.5 billion since January 2019 but has burned through $1.3 billion of that and is now struggling to go toe-for-toe with their Democratic counterparts when it matters most.
Further underscoring Trump’s money woes, his campaign committee started the month of September with more than $121 million — double his total just 29 days later.
During the month of September, the campaign brought in $81 million but spent nearly $126 million, according to the disclosure report filed to the Federal Election Commission on Tuesday evening. Meanwhile, the Biden campaign reported bringing in and spending roughly $282 million.
The $63.1 million on hand for the Trump campaign doesn’t reflect all the money available to spend for the president’s reelection campaign, which is a combined effort between the campaign, the Republican National Committee and two joint fundraising committees: Trump Victory and Trump Make America Great Again Committee.
Trump Victory, which raises big-dollar donations that get transferred to the campaign and the Republican National Committee, reported a much larger amount in cash on hand earlier this month ($90 million) than in previous months.
Still, the Trump team’s financial resources have significantly dwindled compared to Biden’s.
In all, the president’s campaign, the RNC and their joint committees raised a total of $248 million in September and ended the month with $251 million on hand, compared to the $325 million they had at the end of August.
The Biden campaign, the Democratic National Committee and their joint operations, in comparison, raised a total of $364.5 million in September and entered the crucial last month of the race with $432 million on hand, which is nearly twice as much as Trump and Republicans.
And from July through September, while Biden and the DNC’s two joint fundraising committees raised $457 million after spending $82 million, Trump and the RNC’s two joint fundraising committees raised $355 million after spending more than $190 million.
The newest financial filings paint a bleak picture for the president and offer a more extensive view of his campaign’s cash troubles. The president’s team has been diverting spending from crucial battlegrounds, canceling more than $2 million worth of airtime in Ohio earlier this month. Biden and his ally groups are also now spending double the amount Trump and his supporters are spending on television and radio ads.
From Oct. 20 through Nov. 3, the Biden campaign, the DNC and pro-Biden outside groups have reserved a total of $155 million of airtime, twice the $83 million that the Trump campaign, the RNC and pro-Trump outside groups have reserved during the same period, according to ad spending data from media research firm CMAG.
“The Trump campaign has all the resources we need going into the home stretch of this election,” Trump campaign spokesperson Samantha Zager said in a statement. “As Hillary Clinton proved when she outspent us 2-to-1 in 2016, no amount of money can buy the presidency — voters have to be enthusiastic about casting their ballot for a candidate, and that’s only happening for President Trump.”
The Trump campaign on Monday announced a new $55 million ad blitz for the final two weeks, some of which is reflected in the $83 million total; but even with that last-minute boost, pro-Trump efforts in the final stretch of the race are expected to lag behind Biden’s.
The president’s cash problems in the final days of the election present a sharp fall for a team that has worked to craft and project an image of a campaign that is an “unstoppable juggernaut.”
For well over a year, the Trump campaign used fundraising numbers and cash-on-hand figures to portray uncontested enthusiasm and support for the president.
When Trump narrowly outraised Biden in April, then-Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale tried to downplay the Biden campaign’s first massive fundraising haul, writing on Twitter that the former vice president “just had his 1st month as the apparent Dem nominee, which is when the big early money comes in,” and boasting that the president “still beat him in fundraising.”
Parsacle touted that they still had “a massive cash advantage ($255M COH), better operation, more enthusiasm…The enthusiasm gap is real and it is wide!”
But since then, the Trump campaign has trailed Biden in fundraising each month — and in the final days before Election Day, that advantage has evaporated along with the Trump campaign’s bluster of unleashing a “Death Star” attack on its rivals.
In its place, Trump has started arguing on the campaign trail, “If you can win for less money that’s a good thing, not a bad thing.”
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