Araweelo News NetworkNew York(ANN)Donald J. Trump is leaning heavily on Republican Party organizations to provide crucial campaign functions like getting out the vote, digital outreach and fund-raising, at a time when some leading Republicans have called for party officials to cut off Mr. Trump and focus instead on maintaining control of Congress.
Despite an influx of campaign cash from small donors in July, Mr. Trump’s operation still largely resembles the bare-bones outfit that he rode to victory during the primary season, more concert tour than presidential campaign, according to interviews and documents filed with the Federal Election Commission through Saturday night. And some Republicans believe he is effectively out of time to invest in the kind of large-scale infrastructure that the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, will bring to the polls in November.
Mr. Trump spends little on polling and made his first advertising purchase of the general election campaign only last week. His rapidly growing digital fund-raising and voter-targeting operation is a partnership with the Republican National Committee, relying significantly on lists built and maintained in recent years by the party.
In July, when Mrs. Clinton spent almost $3 million to field a staff of 700 people at her Brooklyn headquarters and in swing states around the country, according to Federal Election Commission payroll data, Mr. Trump spent more money on renting arenas for his speeches than he did on payroll. A senior Trump campaign official, who asked for anonymity because he was not permitted to discuss staffing publicly, said Mr. Trump’s campaign had fewer than 200 total staff members at the end of July, about evenly divided between field offices and New York.
Although he has opened offices in Ohio and Florida in recent weeks, Mr. Trump’s field efforts rely primarily on roughly 500 Republican National Committee organizers scattered across 11 swing states.
The arrangement is a kind of throwback to the pre-Citizens United era, when party organizations — not independent “super PACs” and political nonprofits — assumed many of the financial and organizational burdens of national campaigns.
But it also highlights the bind in which Republican leaders find themselves as Mr. Trump’s struggles threaten to undermine the party’s Senate and House candidates in November: As dependent as Mr. Trump is on their organization, the party is now deeply dependent on Mr. Trump’s surging base of small donors to finance it.
“There is no moving the turnout operation or the absentee ballot program away from Donald Trump and in some senator’s favor,” Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman, said in an interview on Sunday with CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “It doesn’t work that way. There’s no hundred million dollars in a drawer that might not be spent on one person, but in favor of another.”