Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is in denial about the state of his presidential campaign. The former Florida governor cut his campaign staff’s salaries across the board on Friday, Oct. 23, 2015; however, Bush denied on Saturday, Oct. 24 before a town hall in South Carolina that his campaign is facing problems. Instead, he made it sound like a strategic decision done all the time in campaigns and it was only an “adjustment.” Speaking to FOX News Thursday evening, Oct. 22 Bush seems to still believe he will win the Republican presidential nomination despite funding problems and falling low single digit poll numbers.
Before conducting a town hall at Catholic high school in Charleston, Bush tried to convince the public and maybe himself that there is nothing wrong with his campaign. Bush made an excuse for the cuts, saying, “We’ve made an adjustment in our campaign. That’s what leaders do.” Bush tried to argue that now is not the critical point for his campaign, “October is not when you elect people. It’s February, and then you move into March.” Bush still believes he can win the nomination, expressing “We have a campaign that is designed to win. And I’m going to win.”
The day before Bush’s campaign announced the cost cutting measure they claimed would “maximize our resources.” According to USA Today and the campaign’s internal memo, the campaign spending cuts are more than just payroll. The changes include cutting payroll by 40 percent across the board except for entry-level staffers. The campaign plans to downsize the staff at the Miami, Florida headquarters with only 25 percent remaining, the rest can move to working in early primary states including Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina where the campaign is refocusing their efforts. The traveling budget will be cut by 20 percent and the campaign will cut 45 percent of the “non media/voter contact budget.”
This is not the first time Bush has been cutting campaign costs, Bush started the process back in August. This is just the most drastic and most noticeable cuts. The internal memo indicated that the campaign dynamics changed, “It’s no secret that the contours of this race have changed from what was anticipated at the start. We would be less than forthcoming if we said we predicted in June that a reality television star supporting Canadian-style single-payer health care and partial-birth abortion would be leading the GOP Primary.”
In the memo, the campaign said the changes were necessary “We are making changes today to ensure Jeb is best positioned to win the nomination and general election. Jeb is the one candidate with a proven conservative record, bold ideas and the strong leadership needed to fix the problems America faces. We are moving our resources into the states to ensure that voters in primary and caucus states are introduced to his record and vision for the future.”
Behind that exterior confidence, Bush has reasons to worry, many believe his campaign is “struggling.” Bush is facing falling poll numbers down in the single digits all polls, polling at only 8 percent support in the latest CNN/ORC poll. Real estate mogul Donald Trump took over his once frontrunner status and has a firm lock on it being on top the national polls for over 100 days. Bush’s donors are scared, he only raised $13 million in the last corner and spent of 86 percent of it, he now only has $10 million to work with, his donors are reluctant to invest in his troubled campaign, and his assurances are not working. Additionally, his performances in the GOP primary debates have been lackluster, with Trump readily attacking his lack of energy.
There is one light spot for Bush according to a recent Associated Press-GfK poll American voters and Republicans still believe Bush is electable. Six in 10 republicans think he could win the general election, putting him behind from frontrunner Trump, who seven in 10 believe could win the election and tied with retired Neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who competitively sits in second place in national polls, close behind Trump.
Despite all the headlines that his campaign’s demise near, and that he might be dropping out, Bush is firm he is in it for the long haul. In an interview Thursday evening, Oct. 22 on Fox News with Megyn Kelly, she asked, “What would it take for you to drop out?” to that Bush responded with confidence, “I’m not getting out. I believe we have a plan to be very competitive in the early states. We have the resources to stay with this…I never thought it would be easy and it certainly hasn’t been. And I believe that I’m gonna win the nomination.”