Can he fix it?
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is in Philadelphia this evening for a fundraiser as he struggles to revive a presidential campaign that’s hit hard times lately.Bush turned in an admittedly poor performance in last week’s debate, and recent polls show him in fifth place in single digits.
I asked insurance executive Manny Stamatakis, Pennsylvania finance chairman for the Bush campaign, if this isn’t kind of a bad time to be asking donors for big checks.
But he says he’s gotten a good response to the event, which invites contributions up the federal limit of $2,700 for individuals.
“There are some people who are saying they want to wait,” he said. “That’s normal. That happens in every election. But I think in Pennsylvania we’re on target to raise between $400,000 and $500,000.”
That would be from the Philadelphia event and a Friday morning fundraiser in Pittsburgh.
A key Bush backer here is former Republican Gov. Tom Ridge.
“There’s a sense that his campaign is in pretty dire straits,” said Muhlenberg College analyst and pollster Christopher Borick in a phone interview. “This has to a challenging time for the Bush supporters to rally their friends and associates in this work.”
“He’s well-financed, so he’s in a good position in that respect,” Borick said. “But if he doesn’t start to see some movement, some excitement, it’s going to be increasingly hard.”
The Philadelphia fundraiser is being held at Ralph’s Café on the 42nd floor of the Comcast Center, but Comcast Executive Vice President David L. Cohen said that doesn’t mean the company is backing Bush’s campaign.
The venue is rented for many events, and Cohen will stop by to welcome attendees, but neither he nor the Comcast political action committee will be writing a check.
Cohen said some Comcast employees are supporters who will be attending and making contributions as individuals.
Stamatakis said he’s encouraging potential donors to take the long view and not get obsessed with daily campaign coverage.
“It’s so crazy right now with all these debates and back and forth, that you never know from one day to the next who’s going to be up in what poll,” he said. “Look at who the front-runners were in this quarter of the 2012 campaign: Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich.”