Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is drastically slashing campaign spending, including an across-the-board pay cut for staff, as the one-time front-runner seeks to salvage his bid for the GOP nomination.
The moves will reduce the campaign’s payroll by 40 percent, while also cutting travel costs by 20 percent and eliminating extraneous overhead costs. Most campaign officials were told of the cost-cutting on Friday.
The changes mark a significant setback for a campaign that spent months building a large operation, but there are no signs Bush is on the verge of withdrawing from the race. He was scheduled to attend an event at Regent University in Virginia on Friday afternoon and had events with donors beginning Sunday in Texas.
Still, the former Florida governor – a son and brother of former presidents – has been under pressure from supporters to revamp his campaign as the early voting contests draw closer. The first-to-vote Iowa caucuses take place 100 days from Friday.
Despite financial and organizational advantages, Bush has struggled to break out of a crowded Republican field so far dominated by unorthodox candidates, including billionaire Donald Trump and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.
The changes predominantly impact staff at Bush’s Miami headquarters. Only about 25 percent of campaign staff will remain in Florida. Another one-fourth of the staff was already in early voting states and the remaining Bush aides will either be offered jobs there or other posts at reduced salaries.
Campaign officials said the changes would allow Bush to bolster his resources in early voting states, particularly New Hampshire. Officials also suggested that by shifting staff out of Miami, Bush can make more and longer trips to New Hampshire, as well as Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada.
Bush officials acknowledged that the changes reflect a campaign landscape that looks far different than what they originally expected. Trump’s unexpected rise has pulled attention away from other candidates and revealed deep voter frustration with Washington and experienced politicians.
Bush’s campaign has urged supporters to be patient, pointing to its large organization and heavily funded super PAC as signs their operation is built to last through a long campaign. The campaign and super PAC have been spending heavily on television advertisements in early voting states, but so far there is little sign that his standing in the race is significantly improving.
While Bush’s super PAC remains heavily funded, his campaign fundraising slowed in recent months. He reported collecting $13.4 million between July 1 and Sept. 30, less than Carson, who led the field with about $20 million. Bush ended September with about $10 million in cash.
Republished with permission of the Associated Press.