The one comfort that fans of Jeb Bush (do those people exist?) could take while watching his poll numbers plummet into oblivion over the past two months is that he would have enough money to spend the other campaigns into oblivion when the chips were down. The signs are increasing that Jeb Bush’s supposed huge money advantage may not be materializing as planned.
First, [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] and Ben Carson both beat Jeb to the money release punch with massive hauls of cash in the last quarter. The fact that Jeb has yet to release his fundraising numbers pretty conclusively indicates that they will be a disappointment – but even if they aren’t, the other candidates will clearly have enough money to stay in the game regardless of what Jeb Bush does.
Then Politico released a story today indicating that the Jeb campaign is already feeling a monetary pinch in their campaign operations:
On the first day of a two-day Iowa swing back in August, Jeb Bush flew from Davenport to Ankeny in a private plane. The next day, after he spent more than four hours bounding around the State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, a top adviser attributed Bush’s high energy level to having spent less time in transit.
Those days are over.
Last week, Bush spent three days in Iowa, traveling again from Des Moines to the state’s eastern edge, campaigning in the Mississippi River towns of Bettendorf and Muscatine — but this time, he went by car. The campaign also cancelled its reservation at the tony Hotel Blackhawk in nearby Davenport, staying instead at a cheaper hotel. More and more, Bush is flying commercial.
“The high life has ended,” said one Florida operative familiar with the campaign’s operation. “They’re running a more modest operation in the last two weeks, and the traveling party has definitely shrunk.”
Here is maybe the worst news of all for Team Jeb: Jeb is getting trounced 69-31 in head to head polling with [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ].
— Dan McLaughlin (@baseballcrank) October 14, 2015
It is increasingly difficult to see a path forward for Jeb – and more importantly, it’s increasingly difficult for his donors to see a path forward either. This means that Jeb will have to run the campaign of an insurgent rather than a front runner, which is something he’s dispositionally very ill-suited to do. He doesn’t inspire people on the stump, he doesn’t draw huge crowds with his personality, and he isn’t magnetic on television. His appeal (such that it is) is that he appears calm and confident and would be a competent caretaker of the office, which fits neither the mood of the GOP electorate nor the mold for a campaign that could even possibly come charging up from the rear of the pack to take the lead.
Jeb Bush can’t survive another quarter like the one he just had. If he isn’t able to turn this around soon (and it doesn’t look like he can), then his alleged money juggernaut will soon go the way of the Forbes 2000 campaign that came before it.