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One Super PAC isn’t enough for Ted Cruz. He has four.

Ted Cruz
Ted Cruz
Richard Ellis / Getty
Andrew Prokop is a senior politics correspondent at Vox, covering the White House, elections, and political scandals and investigations. He’s worked at Vox since the site’s launch in 2014, and before that, he worked as a research assistant at the New Yorker’s Washington, DC, bureau.

  1. A group of Super PACs backing Sen. Ted Cruz's presidential campaign will raise more than $31 million this week, an ally of Cruz announced Wednesday.
  2. "There are no known cases in which an operation backing a White House hopeful has collected this much money in less than a week," Mark Halperin writes at Bloomberg Politics.
  3. The money is split among four separate Super PACs — each of which is "representing a particular donor or donor family," Eliana Johnson of National Review reports.

Cruz has hooked four big fish

I wrote recently that in the era of Super PACs, candidates only need to hook a few big fish to raise tens of millions of dollars. Cruz, it seems, has hooked four.

Cruz's apparent $31 million haul is remarkable for a second-tier candidate whom many expected to have trouble appealing to wealthy donors. Last time around, for comparison, Newt Gingrich's Super PAC only spent $17 million in total, and Rick Santorum's spent just $7.5 million. Cruz has seemingly amassed far more money than that quite quickly.

Also intriguing is the way Cruz's operation is set up. "Four PACs, one team, one goal: Cruz elected president," the press release announcing the donations says. They will be called Keep the Promise PAC, Keep the Promise I, Keep the Promise II, and Keep the Promise III. Three of the four will be run by Dathan Voelter, described as "an Austin-based CPA and attorney who has strong personal and family ties to Senator Cruz."

Past campaigns have tended to have one major Super PAC operated by a close ally, not several. Now Eliana Johnson explains that the four Super PACs will each represent a separate donor or family — apparently to give each major donor more control over how his or her money is spent.

Johnson identifies one of those donors as Robert Mercer, the co-CEO of hedge fund management company Renaissance Technologies. Renaissance, according to a Senate committee investigation last year, has avoided over $6 billion in taxes through "abuse of structured financial products." The other key donors will be disclosed at the end of July, the groups say.

It's clear now that Cruz will have the money he needs to run a serious operation. It's also clearer than ever that the 2016 GOP primary will be, partly, a competition among mega-donors — and that they want more say than ever over where their money goes.

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