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Ramaswamy Donor Memo: ‘Vivek on Track To Eclipse DeSantis’

An internal memo circulated by the Vivek Ramaswamy campaign, and obtained by RealClearPolitics, outlines his pitch to donors ahead of the first GOP primary debate: The 37-year-old first-time candidate is surging as others stumble, going farther with fewer resources, and will soon “eclipse DeSantis.”

Until recently, those claims could be dismissed as so much bravado from an overeager, unknown biotech investor without any political experience whatsoever.

But Ramaswamy qualified last week for the first Republican presidential debate, and he has consistently polled in third place in the RealClearPolitics average ahead of more established candidates such as former Vice President Mike Pence and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.

In the document geared toward donors, Ramaswamy argues that he now “provides the best return on investment in American politics.”

To make that case, his campaign points to the tens of millions of dollars other candidates and their affiliated super PACs have spent on traditional advertising to maintain their tepid polling positions. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Never Back Down, for instance, spent nearly $14 million throughout the summer. Ramaswamy put pennies on the dollar by comparison, spending just under $400,000 in the last 45 days.

“Vivek is spending significantly less than his competitors on traditional advertising per percentage point in national polls,” the memo reads, “proving his message and vision lands with the GOP electorate.”

The memo divides total spending on traditional advertising by the average of four national July polls. The resulting quotient, they note, the dollar per percentage point, is much, much smaller for Ramaswamy than any other candidate. By their numbers, he has maintained each percentage point with just over $40,000, while DeSantis and company have spent around $830,000 to maintain their standing.

The four July polls referenced by the Ramaswamy campaign were conducted by Harvard/Harris, Kaplan Strategies, Reuters/Ipsos, and Morning Consult.

“There is still a lot of room to grow today, like 30% to 35% of the Republican electorate still doesn’t know who he is,” a senior Ramaswamy aide told RCP. “And yet, he is in third place and starting to nip on DeSantis’ heels.”

Nipping at his heels may be a stretch. In the latest RealClearPolitics polling average, Donald Trump has a solid majority of the Republican primary vote at 54%, with DeSantis in a distant second place with 18%. Ramaswamy sits at 5%.

Still, he leads Pence, Scott, Nikki Haley, and Chris Christie – established Republicans with traditional credentials – and is outperforming his résumé with a strategy predicated on going everywhere and talking to everyone. He has sparked numerous viral online moments as a result, most notably his sparring match in April with Don Lemon over whether systemic racism was responsible for holding back black Americans. CNN later let the anchor go. Ramaswamy has steadily risen ever since making the most of earned media.

According to an analysis by Cision Analytics, which was also included in the memo, Ramaswamy has appeared in 58,918 media hits, a number surpassed only by Trump, who logged 100,577.

That kind of earned media requires a candidate comfortable with chasing omnipresence, something Ramaswamy thrives on. He seldom turns down an interview, a fact that even DeSantis supporters have taken note of. “Earned media is so much more valuable than paid media,” David Sacks, a fundraiser for DeSantis, said during a recent podcast with Ramaswamy. “Vivek is living off the land. It’s earned media. Trump did the same thing in 2016.”

In the last Republican presidential primary, according to the Ramaswamy analysis, Trump spent just $5,564 per percentage point as he surpassed more established, better-funded candidates. The Ramaswamy campaign hopes to achieve a similar bang for its buck. As things stand now, a senior aide from the campaign told RCP, “We’re not going to have to spend many resources on traditional things until later in the year.”

Ramaswamy has courted significant grassroots support while spending much less than the competition, a fact the campaign points out in the memo, noting how he easily eclipsed the RNC debate requirements, which mandate that candidates earn contributions from at least 40,000 campaign donors. Ramaswamy has cashed checks from 70,000 donors, 40% of whom have not previously made a political contribution.

These numbers are notable achievements for a candidate widely dismissed as a novelty act. At the beginning of the year, Ramaswamy was invited to attend an RNC donor retreat, not to speak but to watch from the audience as more established candidates pitched the deep-pocketed. He declined. Since then, his campaign has proceeded with a singular focus: qualifying for the debate stage.

Ramaswamy has punched his ticket, announcing last week that he easily cleared the qualifications. Once on stage, however, the political novice will have to quickly make the case that he belongs there. His campaign argues that his newcomer profile will help.

“When you look at who potentially could be on the debate stage, it is very clear that Vivek is the only outsider,” a senior aide said. “Everybody else is just a career politician.”

Even as his poll numbers are stagnant, the DeSantis orbit continues to insist that the contest for the nomination is a two-man race between himself and Trump. Ramaswamy agrees that the race is down to two contenders, but in an interview with McClatchy, he insisted the Florida governor is not one of them.

“If you look at … ad dollars per poll number, it’s not even close. That’s the metric that actually matters,” Ramaswamy said. “I think that the other candidates are going to be on the ground floor, where Trump and I are the only ones who are really dominating that metric. So I do think it’s a two-man race, I think it’s very quickly going to be evident that it’s a two-man race.”

This article was originally published by RealClearPolitics and made available via RealClearWire.

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Notable Replies

  1. A lot of potential, except that he loves TPP and wants to rejoin. What makes Vivek different from DeSantis? Not much except that he connects with people.

  2. Ramaswamy is the ultimate shiny new object but curiosity alone will not carry him over the finish line. To be fair, he seems to have real substance and a grasp of reality unexpected in “a 37 year old investor with no political experience.” That 37 year old part is a bit concerning though. I’ve never known anyone that young who was even remotely qualified to run a superpower.

  3. Avatar for Travis Travis says:

    This guy has a better chance of replacing Eminem (that hip hop routine at the Iowa State Fair alone should disqualify him in the mind of voters) than he does DeSantis

    He’s a chameleon, for sure. He wrote a book last year, that’s copyright 2022 folks, in which he trashed Trump and praised Pence over January 6th. Now his campaign mostly operates as a Trump satellite.

  4. I see a great opportunity to remake the USA federal government. Efficient and effective, more value out for dollar in. Trump, as President gives his Vice President, Vivek Ramaswamy, full authority to remake the USA Federal Government. Vivek is an outstanding value creator, so why not use him at his best ability?

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