Rebuilding America Now, the Rick Scott-run super PAC intended to be the main advertising support for Donald Trump’s presidential bid, is struggling after the departure of Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.
CNN is reporting that individuals associated with Rebuilding America are beginning to worry as donors ignore repeated pleas for last-minute cash.
At first, the super PAC was imagined as a force to compete with Democrat Hillary Clinton’s $100-million-plus operation. Now, Scott and others are scaling back operations, instead focusing on a handful of states with a much smaller budget that is about half its initial size.
During the summer, Rebuilding America aired nearly $13 million in television ads, the largest activity of any pro-Trump group until the campaign launched its own advertising about two weeks ago. Since then, the super PAC abruptly stopped paid media, even as they insist ads will be running until Election Day.
With the removal of Manafort – a longtime DC lobbyist – CNN reports that supporters are beginning to feel anxious about the Trump campaign leadership, particularly with new executive chairman Steve Bannon.
Bannon is the combative chair of Breitbart News, a conservative right-wing website, and is reportedly tied closely to a rival super PAC operated by top Republican donor Bob Mercer.
Previously, Scott was a major contributor to Rebuilding America Now, the super PAC which he now chairs. This puts the Florida governor in a unique position as not only the leader of the nation’s third largest state, but also in charge of an organization that deals with some of the biggest Republican money men in support of the party’s nominee.
“He knows how to win campaigns like this, and how to inspire the financial support to get them over the goal line. He’s done it,” said Alex Castellanos, who is developing commercials for the super PAC, in a CNN interview. “Scott is just a relentlessly efficient business guy.”
In fact, Scott uses his own donations as part of his sales pitch.
“I’m in. I need you in,” Scott says during fundraising calls, according to sources within the group.
As fundraising slows down, however, Rebuilding America Now has correspondingly cut back its reach, choosing to keep its focus on two key battleground states – Florida and Ohio.