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Pro-Trump groups outspend pro-Biden groups so far in US presidential race

Published 06/18/2024, 06:18 AM
Updated 06/18/2024, 10:55 AM
© Reuters. A supporter of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds a sign during an event held by the national conservative political movement, 'Turning Point' in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., June,  16, 2024. REUTERS/Rebecca cook/File Photo

By Jason Lange, Alexandra Ulmer and Stephanie Kelly

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Outside groups supporting Donald Trump's presidential bid have spent significantly more money in recent months than groups that are working to re-elect Democratic President Joe Biden, according to a Reuters analysis of campaign finance records.

Pro-Trump spending groups have spent more than $25 million since Trump clinched the Republican nomination on March 6, Federal Election Commission records show, compared to more than $15 million spent by Biden's allies during the same time.

MAGA Inc., the largest pro-Trump super PAC, will report on Thursday that it had $93.7 million in the bank at the end of May, up from $33 million at the end of April, according to a senior official with MAGA Inc. who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Both sides have put most of their recent spending into television attack ads, as they try to sway the small slice of U.S. voters who will determine the outcome of the Nov. 5 election. 

Trump allies say the spending blitz aims to counter Biden's early fundraising advantage. Biden's campaign reported $84 million in the bank at the end of April, compared to $49 million reported by Trump. 

"There's an effort to strategically weaken Biden's cash advantage," said a source familiar with MAGA Inc., who also spoke on condition of anonymity. "Right now, Trump's campaign is able to bank every dollar they raise because his allies at MAGA Inc. are carrying the weight of the ad war against Team Biden."

Trump's fundraising deficit has been compounded by courtroom battles that have driven up his legal bills and made him the first U.S. president to be convicted of felony crimes. 

Biden, 81, and Trump, 78, are neck-and-neck in national public opinion polls, though Trump has a slight advantage in the battleground states that could determine the winner of the election.

Both campaigns are due to report updated campaign finance figures on Thursday. 

"We're seeing spending essentially at parity and know the campaign will have the resources going into this fall to highlight the stark choice voters have this fall," a source close to the Biden campaign.

The Trump campaign said in a statement that its own fundraising was strong, propelled by Trump's conviction. The campaign highlighted that Trump raised $53 million in the 24 hours after the guilty verdict.

Unlike political campaigns, super PACs face no limits on fundraising, but they are not allowed to coordinate their ad purchases with the candidates they support. They must report spending shortly after it happens.

MAGA Inc. spent roughly $18 million to help Trump's campaign, largely on a barrage of television and digital ads that have attacked Biden's immigration policies and have argued that he is too old to serve a second term.

By contrast, Future Forward, the biggest super PAC backing Biden, has reported new expenditures to the FEC since March 6 that total less than $1 million, even though it held $57 million in the bank at the end of April. 

A senior Democrat with ties to the group, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it would spend heavily in the final months of the election, as it did in the 2020 contest when Biden defeated Trump. 

Another Democratic super PAC, American Bridge 21st Century, has spent more than $11 million so far. 

© Reuters. A person holds up a sign at a campaign rally by former U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at Crotona Park in the Bronx borough of New York City, U.S., May 23, 2024.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Pat Dennis, the group's president, said it was narrowly focused on women voters by running ads about issues including abortion rights in the battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

"We are really focused on the summer and setting the stage for the folks who take over in the fall," he said.

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