Trump fundraising trails GOP rivals in early primary states

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BOSTON – Donald Trump still dominates the Republican presidential primary polls in New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina, but when it comes to the money race he trails badly in all three.

Campaign donations won’t buy votes, but they can provide a measure of real support that’s less ephemeral than polling results. If someone puts their money down on a candidate, they’re more likely to vote for that person in the only polling that counts.

Trump has said he would self-finance his campaign, eschewing public appeals for contributions. But his July through September finance report shows he raised more than $3.9 million from individual contributors, and spent at least $201,073 to rent mailing lists for fundraising appeals from Newsmax Media, a website operator in Florida. The Washington Post has reported that Newsmax touted a 30 percent commission for list owners that participated.

While Texas and California, the two most-populous states in the nation, provided the most to the Trump campaign, Massachusetts came in a close third, with donations totaling about $120,320. Texas was first, at $136,654, and California, at about $123,413, only just edged past Massachusetts.

Graphic created by NewBostonPost.

Graphic created by NewBostonPost.

One of the biggest Bay State contributors to The Donald’s coffers was Hub car magnate Ernie Boch Jr. An event staged at Boch’s Norwood estate Aug. 28 reportedly drew more than 1,000 guests who paid $100 each to attend. Boch described it as a Trump fundraiser, while the candidate said it wasn’t.

The lavish affair apparently cost at least $86,936.80, which Trump listed as an in-kind donation from Boch to pay for catering at the event. But federal election financing rules limit primary donations to no more than $2,700, and on Sept. 30, the Trump campaign refunded $84,236.80 to Boch.

In fact, Trump’s fundraisers did better in Massachusetts than in any of the three states holding the first nominating contests, putting him fourth in the Bay State behind Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, who led the way, followed by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and retired Dr. Ben Carson. In nearby New Hampshire, Trump was way behind, ranking ninth out of 14 candidates.

Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard chief executive, led in the Granite State fundraising race at over $39,000, edging out Carson in the first state to hold a presidential primary, set for Feb. 9. But in Iowa, where party caucuses will provide the first test of voting strength on Feb. 1, Carson dominated the field in the money game, raising more than double the amount of his nearest rival. And in South Carolina, native son Lindsey Graham, the state’s senior U.S. senator, outshined the rest with a whopping $410,000.

Overall, Carson pulled in the most money nationwide at $20.8 million, followed by Bush at $13.4 million, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at $12.2 million and Fiorina with almost $6.8 million. Rubio, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie all surpassed Trump, whose $3.9 million haul included $100,000 out of his own pocket. His total put Trump in eighth place, trailed by Kentucky Sen. Ron Paul, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Graham, Louisiana Gov. Bobbly Jindal, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former New York Gov. George Pataki.