Donald Trump has sent a flurry of email fundraising appeals in recent days, though rather than originating from his campaign, some have been sent to addresses on lists purchased from other politicians or groups.
Trump’s reliance on purchased email lists is an indication that his campaign has failed to build its own large database of potential donors, political strategists say, a step considered crucial to competing in a national election.
“At this point in the game, a presidential candidate should have a substantially large house file that is constantly raising money. Acquiring lists at this point suggests they are far behind in building a house file,” said Rob Stutzman, a Sacramento, California-based Republican consultant and frequent Trump critic. “It’s what they should be doing if he’s not going to self-fund, but they should have been doing it a year ago. Poor planning. Sad.”
Trump’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Some of the recent emails, with subject lines such as “ALERT: You need to read this RE: Hillary Indictment,” have come from Newt Gingrich’s 2012 presidential campaign, the Washington Examiner, National Tea Party Alert and others.
The emails include a disclaimer, such as “Please find a special message from one of our advertisers, Trump Make America Great Again Committee” at the top of an email from Gingrich Productions. Underneath is a letter from Trump urging donations of $5 to $50 to stop presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
“Your donation will once again silence Hillary and the liberal media that hates me so much,” Trump writes.
Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee, was late to start fundraising in earnest. He largely self-financed his primary run before deciding to embark upon a traditional fundraising effort for the general election. Recently released campaign financial disclosure reports showed that Trump badly lagged behind Clinton in May. She ended the month with $42 million in the bank, while Trump had $1.3 million.
Trump has ratcheted up his fundraising since then, scheduling a series of high-dollar events across the nation and sending out a flurry of email missives in search of small-dollar donors.