Rubio campaign inflates cash advantage over Bush
Marco Rubio’s campaign yesterday fanned a juicy storyline: His campaign has more cash on hand than Jeb Bush, a thrifty David vs. a free spending Goliath.
“Thanks to smart budgeting and fiscal discipline, Marco Rubio for President started October with more money in the bank than Jeb Bush for President and most other campaigns,” Rubio’s campaign said in a news release that went out just as Bush’s figures became public.
But that is not the case.
Rubio’s $10.9 million cash on hand ($11 million as rounded off by Rubio’s campaign) includes about $1.2 million in general election funds. That can’t be used, of course, if Rubio doesn’t get the nomination.
Prior to Rubio’s filing hitting the FEC website yesterday evening, his campaign declined a request from the Tampa Bay Times to provide a breakdown of the primary/general money. The FEC sheets themselves don’t tell then story but the data behind it does allow for the money to be separated.
So Rubio has $9.7 cash on hand in primary dollars vs. Bush’s $10 million.
Bush’s figure excludes $270,000 in general election money. Bush also reported some debt - $400,000 (Rubio has none, per FEC reports. UPDATE: A deeper look at the filing shows that Rubio is carrying about $75,000 in debt, despite nothing showing on the top sheets.)
Also, Rubio raised $5.7 million for the quarter, not $6 million.
It may seem inconsequential, but in a presidential campaign, small narratives can become bigger ones, especially if they take off in the news media.
Bush pulled in $13.4 million, second only to Ben Carson's $20 million, but that did not stop critical stories about his spending.