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Setting 2016 bar, pro-Jeb Bush group brings in $103 mln

The Bush camp accomplished its goal, expressed to supporters earlier this year, of raking in at least $100 million by the end of June

Published: Updated:

The independent political group supporting Jeb Bush’s 2016 U.S. presidential ambitions said Thursday it raised a whopping $103 million in the first six months of the year.

The Right to Rise super PAC’s huge haul, combined with the $11.4 million that Bush’s actual campaign raised in the second quarter, marks an unprecedented war chest as the son and brother of two presidents gears up for a very competitive Republican Party primary race.

“Jeb is encouraged and grateful for the tremendous early support and enthusiasm his candidacy has generated since he launched his campaign,” said Woody Johnson, the Bush campaign’s national finance chairman.

The Bush camp accomplished its goal, expressed to supporters earlier this year, of raking in at least $100 million by the end of June, a feat no doubt intended to intimidate other White House candidates.

Super PACs, political action committees which can raise unlimited funds but are barred from coordinating with a candidate or his campaign, have become vital tools for candidates seeking to tap into the enthusiasm of big donors.

No other candidate has reported numbers close to Bush’s, although Hillary Clinton announced July 1 that her campaign alone raised a record $45 million in the first quarter of her presidential bid.

Former secretary of state Clinton is highlighting the grassroots nature of her campaign, noting how 91 percent of her April-June donations were $100 or less.

Right to Rise, which claimed it has $98 million cash on hand, said 95 percent of its donors contributed $25,000 or less.

The campaign of conservative Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican primary rival, said it has raised $14.2 million. Combined with more than $37 million donated to Cruz-backing super PACs, the total haul of $51 million puts Cruz in the top money tier.

The super PAC backing Republican Senator Marco Rubio’s presidential run, Conservative Solutions, said it raised $16 million from January through June.

Rubio’s campaign has not announced its own numbers, but it and other campaigns must do so by July 15.