Donald Trump's campaign began October with just US$63.1m ($94.42 million) cash-on-hand, a sign of its financial struggles in the final stretch of the US presidential race.
The cash-on-hand figure, detailed as part of a Federal Election Commission report, represents a 50 per cent drop from the US$121.1m Trump's campaign had going into September.
Joe Biden's campaign, meanwhile, began October with US$177.3m on hand — or almost three times as much as the Trump campaign — having begun last month with US$180.7m in the bank.
The cash gap comes at a crucial time, and as the president's re-election campaign was significantly outspent by Biden's in paid advertising across the country.
Trump's campaign spent US$139.2m in September — far more than the US$81.3m it raised. Most of the money went to online ads, including on Facebook.
The starkly different cash-on-hand numbers follows a two-month blitz of fundraising by the Biden campaign, which shattered two monthly fundraising records for a presidential campaign in August and September. The death of Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the first presidential debate spurred small-donor donations.
Over those two months, the Biden campaign, together with the Democratic National Committee, raised more than US$747m — or US$289m more than the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee.
Trump's campaign has played down the gap in fundraising, arguing that Hillary Clinton heavily outraised and outspent Trump in 2016 but still went on to lose the election. Earlier this week, the Trump campaign announced it and the RNC would spend a combined US$55m on paid advertising in the final two weeks of the race.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
"We have more than sufficient air cover, almost three times as much as 2016," said Bill Stepien, Trump's campaign manager.
However, there are signs that the campaign's shortage of cash compared with that of Biden's has led to tough cost-cutting choices, including pulling back on paid advertising in September — to the point where the Biden campaign was running television ads in some markets unanswered.
On Sunday, Trump flew to Newport Beach, California, to attend a fundraiser at the home of Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus VR, where tickets to see the president and a performance by one of the original members of the Beach Boys went for as much as US$150,000.
Democrats have noted that it is unusual for a presidential candidate to be hosting a large in-person fundraiser in a non-swing state so close to an election.
Republicans have countered that the California-visit aligned with Trump's visits to two crucial swing states: Arizona and Nevada.
- Financial Times