Less than three weeks after Sen. Ted Cruz announced his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, a group of super PACs is claiming to have raised $31 million for the conservative firebrand.
The treasurer for three of the four super PACs told Bloomberg and the New York Times that the groups (all called "Keep the Promise" or some variation of that) will have the money in the bank by the end of the week. The claim is effectively unverifiable at this point, since super PACs don't have to file campaign disclosures with the Federal Election Commission until July.
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If these groups have indeed raised $31 million, it could significantly change expectations for the Republican primaries. The large sum could put the Cruz campaign on the same financial playing field as the establishment candidates, like former Gov. Jeb Bush, who are expected to easily tap into traditional donor networks. Bush super PAC fundraisers have said they hoped to raise $100 million in the first quarter of the year. In 2012, Mitt Romney's super PAC, Restore Our Future, spent $43 million for his entire primary campaign.
The New York Times reports that the group of super PACs will give certain deep-pocketed donors more say over how their dollars are spent, whether it's on television advertising, voter turnout efforts or other campaign activities. The National Review reports that one such donor is Robert Mercer, a billionaire hedge fund investor.