WASHINGTON (AP) — The sitting governors running for the Republican presidential nomination are finding their fundraising woefully behind the amounts pulled in by their competitors, the July-September campaign finance reports show.
Documents filed Thursday with federal regulators show the trio of remaining governors — Ohio's John Kasich, New Jersey's Chris Christie and Louisiana's Bobby Jindal — have been struggling to bring in money and burning through it quickly, leaving them with little in the bank compared with their rivals.
The numbers are especially troubling for Jindal, who began October with just $261,000 left in the bank — an amount that will make it hard for him to sustain any kind of serious operation through the early-voting state of Iowa, on which he's staking his bid.
In contrast, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson reported raising $20.1 million over the three-month period, while former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush brought in $13.4 million. Even billionaire businessman Donald Trump, who has not been engaged in traditional fundraising, managed to bring in nearly $4 million over the timeframe.
Still, Jindal's campaign sought to downplay the low filing, which does not include money raised by a Super PAC supporting his bid.
"This is an election, not an auction," spokeswoman Shannon Dirmann said. "We are tied for 5th right now in Iowa and plan to win it on February 1st."
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie also entered October in a difficult position. While his campaign brought in $4.2 million, on par with Kasich, he began the month with just $1.4 million on hand.
That's less than Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who had one of the worst fundraising periods, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, whose low polling kept him off the main stage in the first two GOP debates.
Christie and his aides had sought to downplay concerns that the campaign is spending at too fast a pace.
"I'm traveling, we're advertising, I'm paying bills. We're doing fine," Christie recently told reporters during a swing through New Hampshire.
"We are on track to be in the best position possible come January and February," senior campaign adviser Mike DuHaime added in a statement.
Kasich, who was the last major candidate to enter the race, raised about $4.4 million and had $2.6 million left to spend as the month began.
He's been spending at a slower clip than Christie as he's built his operation, however, leaving him with almost twice as much money as the two go head-to-head in the early-voting state of New Hampshire.