Jeb Bush’s campaign insists it is not imploding before primary voters’ eyes despite mounting evidence to the contrary.
The former Florida governor now finds himself in a situation where his own supporters say he isn’t firing on all cylinders, his polls are sagging, Republican insiders claim he is running out of cash, and key endorsements are going to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
“Sources close to the Bush campaign are beginning to leak about a call last night. I’m told the Bush team is out of money. Pay for campaign staff will end on Saturday. The campaign is all but over,” conservative commentator and Red State Eric Erickson wrote Thursday at the Resurgent. “Additionally, after having hundreds of millions of dollars on hand, the Bush Super PAC has less than $15 million from what I am being told.”
Erikson said Bush could be a “king-maker” if he got out of the race before South Carolina’s primary voters head to the polls on Saturday, but the campaign “vehemently” denied having cash-flow problems.
Rumors that Bush’s campaign is about to be pulled off life-support coincide with South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s endorsement of Rubio and a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Thursday showing Bush capturing just 4 percent of the primary vote.
A CNN/ORC poll released Tuesday also had Bush running a distant fourth-place behind Donald Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and Rubio.
“It’s all been decided, apparently,” Bush sarcastically said at a campaign stop in South Carolina on Wednesday. “The pundits have made it all – it’s all decided. We don’t have to go vote, I guess. It’s all finished. I should just stop campaigning, maybe, huh? It’s all done.”
Bush’s supporters, however, seemed worried.
Edward Scott, 58, who lives in Maryland but works in South Carolina, told the New York Times on Wednesday that Bush seems to have been “knocked off center” by his opponents’ attacks. He told the paper it was important for the former Florida governor to “raise the bar” and “be beyond the bullying.”
“I think [Trump] is getting you off your message, your good message,” added David Villinger, 62, of Ridgeville.
Bush told the Summersville audience he was “disappointed” that Haley endorsed Rubio, but vowed “a role for her in the campaign” if he wins the Republican nomination.
Trump, Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich will face off tonight during CNN’s town hall debate in South Carolina. Coverage begins at 8 p.m. EST.
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