Ted Cruz Is Punching Above His Weight Class in Fundraising

The Texas senator's polling may not be top-tier, but his funding is.

Sen. Ted Cruz was eight days into his presidential campaign when he had to file his first financial report with the Federal Election Commission. And as the only official presidential candidate at the time, he had a jump on other candidates. It looks as though that head start has paid off for his campaign financially.

Now, despite polling in eighth among his GOP cohort, Cruz is flexing some fundraising muscle. His campaign raised $10 million this quarter, bringing his fundraising total to $14.3 million since he launched his candidacy. That puts him second among the Republican candidates who have filed with the FEC so far, behind Jeb Bush's $11.4 million raised. The campaign's 175,000 donors gave an average contribution of $81, compared to Bush's $926.

Cruz's campaign has spent $5.4 million, leaving him with a total $8.5 million cash on hand. Cruz did not give any of his own money to his campaign.

Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric and a vocal Cruz supporter, appears to have contributed the maximum $5,400 to Cruz's campaign for himself and his spouse. Tamara Kazda, who listed her employer as Heidi Cruz and her occupation as "nanny," donated the maximum $2,700 to the Cruz campaign. Cruz's campaign also received roughly $20,000 in contributions from political action committees. Make DC Listen—a PAC created to support Cruz—donated $2,700 to Cruz's campaign.

On the disbursements side, Cruz's campaign saw the run-of-the-mill campaign expenses, along with some more colorful expenditures.

Some highlights from Cruz campaign's spending report:

—$1 million on credit-card merchant fees

—$835,000 on postage

"“$678,000 for fundraising phone calls

—$454,000 for political strategy consulting, including $165,000 for the consulting firm Wilson Perkins Allen and $152,000 for Courageous Media LLC

—Nearly $400,000 for The Lukens Company for finance consulting, "list rental," printing, and postage

—$242,000 for travel expenses, including $1,168 on Uber, the ride-sharing service

—$40,000 for a contact information list from the Republican Party of Iowa

—$2,150 for "musical entertainment" by Rick O'Toole and Steven Phillips

—$2,000 to Cruz's father, Rafael Cruz, for travel expenses

—$1,990 to GoDaddy.com, the Web-domain provider

—$1,250 for intern stipends in Kansas, Missouri, and Texas

Roughly 39 percent of Cruz's money came from small donors—people who donated less than $200 to the campaign. But the big money for Cruz and many other candidates won't be showing up in this batch of FEC filings. Super PACs supporting Cruz have raised $37 million so far, likely putting him ahead of so-called "top tier" candidates like Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Now, Cruz just has to figure out how to both sustain the ambitious pace he's set and translate that financial gain into popular success.