Donald Trump's Finances Make Him 'Almost Insurmountable Opponent' to GOP Rivals in 2024

The news that Donald Trump's political committees have raised more than $122 million heading into a midterm election year suggests he would be almost unbeatable in a GOP presidential primary—even though he can't spend any of that money on a 2024 campaign.

A statement issued by the former president's Save America PAC said his committees had accumulated more than $51 million in individual contributions in the second half of 2021, bringing the total amount of cash on hand to more than $122 million.

Of these donations, nearly 99 percent were less than $200, with the average donation standing at about $31.

As The Washington Post has pointed out, Trump has twice as much cash on hand as the Republican National Committee and nearly twice as much as two GOP governors who are often mooted as potential presidential candidates for 2024: Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas.

Although Trump has not formally announced whether he will stand again, campaign finance rules mean he would not be able to use the money donated to Save America and his other committees for a White House run.

However, the speed at which the sum has been raised is a warning to any presidential hopeful brave enough to stand against him that he would be able to outspend them.

"If he chooses to run in 2024, which seems likely, this money would give him a huge advantage over any potential rivals, but it wouldn't be quite right to imply that money is the source of his power," Sean Freeder, an assistant professor of political science at the University of North Florida, told Newsweek.

"Rather, the fact that he is able to raise this kind of money is a function of how much Republican voters support him—much more so than other Republican leaders—and it is that popularity that makes him an almost insurmountable opponent in the 2024 primary."

Trump is prepared to spend his PAC money on candidates he has endorsed across all levels of government. In particular, the former president has publicly backed a number of congressional candidates who seem willing to continue pushing his baseless claim that the last election was rigged against him.

The Save America PAC has contributed $1,350,000 to "like-minded causes and endorsed candidates," it said on Monday.

Freeder said the money looked set to shape the GOP in Trump's image before he even announces his plans for 2024, by funding candidates he will expect to deliver his messages from a GOP-controlled Congress come November.

Taylor Budowich, director of communications for Trump and the Save America PAC, said the fundraising numbers proved that the Make America Great Again "wave" is set to "crash across the midterms and carry forward" into 2024.

"This money will be used now to deliver his political rhetoric to the American public—something he needs help with more than ever," Freeder said.

"While in the past he depended little on money, given the media's willingness to give him so much coverage, his now weakened access to mainstream and social media means he has to pay a lot more for similar saturation.

"He'll also use the money in 2022 to support the Republicans who are his strongest supporters, and to fund primary challengers against Republicans who oppose him."

Speaking to Reuters, Paul Ryan, a campaign finance specialist at government reform advocacy group Common Cause, said Trump could still get around finance laws to use the money indirectly for his presidential ambitions.

For the past several months, Trump has been spending money on rallies in support of his endorsed candidates, where he often gives his own speeches.

Ryan suggested that these events are ultimately a Trump spectacle and a way for him to deliver his messages to the masses.

"Trump very well may find a way to spend the money he raised in 2021 in support of a 2024 campaign and get away with it," Ryan said.

trump war chest
Former President Donald Trump arrives at a rally in Sarasota, Florida, on July 3, 2021. During the event, co-sponsored by the Republican Party of Florida, Trump listed the accomplishments of his administration. Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images