Jeb Bush Implements Severe Across-the-Board Pay Cuts as His Campaign Flounders
Jeb Bush’s campaign is doing deep across-the-board pay cuts for his campaign. It is the second time he has cut back. This is definitely not a good sign for the Bush campaign. His spending and attacks should increase as he goes forward, not decrease. I never thought I’d say this, but Bush may be resigned to not winning the nomination. He’ll stay in… it’s a matter of pride, but he’s just not drawing the crowds or support that Trump, Carson and Cruz are. Graham and Christie should have already dropped out, so I don’t see this helping them. It may help Rubio somewhat. But he is viewed as Jeb in drag and an establishment tool. That’s not what conservatives want and the case for Trump, Carson or Cruz just jumped significantly.
Jeb Bush, once a front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, is implementing an across-the-board pay cut for his struggling campaign as he attempts to regain traction just 100 days before the party’s first nominating contest.
The campaign is removing some senior staff from the payroll, parting ways with some consultants, and downsizing its Miami headquarters to save more than $1 million per month and cut payroll by 40 percent this week, according to Bush campaign officials who requested anonymity to speak about internal changes. Senior leadership positions remain unchanged.
The campaign is also cutting back 45 percent of its budget, except for dollars earmarked for TV advertising and spending for voter contacts, such as phone calls and mailers. Some senior-level staff and consultants will continue to work with the campaign on a volunteer basis, while other junior-level consultants, primarily in finance but including other areas, will be let go, the officials said. The officials declined to say who would be removed from the payroll or provide an exact dollar figure for the savings. (A summary of the changes, provided to Bloomberg Politics by the campaign, isposted here.)
Bush’s advisers, under pressure from their donors and from falling and stagnant poll numbers, have been discussing ways to retool the campaign in recent days, and came to the conclusion that a course correction was essential. While recent tangles with Donald Trump have energized the campaign, Bush’s senior team recognized a more fundamental set of changes was required that didn’t involve dealing directly with the party’s surprising—and surprisingly durable—front-runner.
Analysts and rival campaigns will view the changes as a desperate act, perhaps the last one, of a man whose campaign has dropped in the polls in recent months and has remained mired in the middle of a crowded field despite a month-long blitz of friendly television ads. None of the changes deal directly with what even many of Bush’s supporters say is his main challenge: The burden of trying to convince voters hungry for change to choose a man whose father and brother both served as president.
Officials said the changes—the second time the campaign has cuts its payroll this year—will enable them to shift more resources into New Hampshire, where the campaign has the largest operation in the state, and other states where early voters begin casting ballots in February. There will be more volunteers and surrogates for Bush, which the campaign refers to as “friends of Jeb,” on the ground to help in a state that his brother lost in 2000 and his father won in 1988.
One Bush adviser told Bloomberg Politics in an interview Friday morning that the team was “unapologetic” about the changes, saying the moves were from a “position of strength.” “This is about winning the race,” the adviser said. “We’re doing it now and making the shifts with confidence. We expect to win.”
The campaign claims to have the most extensive field operation in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, states with the first four nominating contests. Bush had $10.3 million available for the primary race as of Oct. 1, about the same as U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, but less than U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and Dr. Ben Carson. Right to Rise USA, the super-PAC being run by Mike Murphy, raised $103 million in the first six months of the year.
Still, many thought Bush would keep the pole position heading into the 2016 primary calendar. But the former Florida governor and his advisers had little choice but to make the changes to redirect resources and attempt to create a new narrative for the campaign before the Feb. 1 caucuses in Iowa and—more importantly for Bush—the Feb. 9 primary in New Hampshire.
In a presidential campaign cycle that has already seen stunning twists and turns, to see the presumed establishment front-runner, whose strength was based in part on his fundraising capacity, have to make these kinds of cuts, is one of the most surprising developments so far.
One of Bush’s rivals, Carson, who leads in a new Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines RegisterIowa Poll, was taken aback in an interview Friday morning that Bush is being forced to make some changes.
“This is a little bit surprising, but you know a lot of his money, of course, was super-PAC money as opposed to campaign money,” Carson said in an interview that will air onWith All Due Respect today on Bloomberg TV. “That doesn’t give you as much flexibility, quite frankly.”
Bush, who aides said was actively involved in the decision to cut back, will spend less time raising money and more time engaged in retail political events, such as town halls, meet-and-greets, and one-on-one meetings, advisers said.
They are calling Jeb Bush a scrappy underdog… Bwa ha ha ha! “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.” ‘Scrappy’ is hardly a word that fits the self-proclaimed Joyful Tortoise. He has all the charisma of a wet rag and the appeal of stale bread. The media still can’t get over that Trump has led the field and continues to do so. They are flummoxed by it. The inability of Bush to seize and hold the lead position among the politically experienced Republicans running for the White House is a big factor in the fluidity of the party’s primary race. In the 2012 contest, nominee Mitt Romney was leapfrogged in polls by various rivals yet consistently hovered in second place, positioned to break to the top when the competition settled into a rhythm. Bush has been second-tier from the beginning – he’s only been on the front stage because of his big backers and they are beginning to desert him in droves. This looks like the slow death of Bush’s campaign. There will be no sadness in that for most conservatives.
Terresa Monroe-Hamilton is an editor and writer for Right Wing News. She owns and blogs at NoisyRoom.net. She is a Constitutional Conservative and NoisyRoom focuses on political and national issues of interest to the American public. Terresa is the editor at Trevor Loudon's site, New Zeal - trevorloudon.com. She also does research at KeyWiki.org. You can email Terresa here. NoisyRoom can be found on Facebook and on Twitter.