Libertarian presidential candidates are often written off as having very little chance to actually win a general election, but a tomato tycoon with $1 million to spare is trying to tip those scales.
Chris Rufer, who founded the tomato-processing company Morning Star in California, plans on donating the funds to a super PAC that will back the campaign of former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party nominee, according to the Hill. And Johnson could use the help.
While Johnson’s two main super PACs hauled in about $670,000 for his 2012 presidential run, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, he has not fared as well this year. So far he has raised nearly $349,000 and spent nearly $334,000 on his campaign, leaving just under $15,000 cash on hand, according to CRP.
“I do know Chris. I am not aware of this donation, but he's always been very generous,” Johnson told the Hill when reached for comment about the donation. Rufer gave as much as $500,000 of the 2012 super PAC money that went to bolster Johnson’s campaign.
Even a cursory look at Johnson’s fundraising shows that a $1 million super PAC donation is a drop in the bucket compared to his competition in the general election. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, the only remaining candidate in the race to have embraced super PACs since the beginning of her campaign, has received nearly $85 million in donations to super PACs. And her campaign committee alone has raised more than $204 million.
Neither Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is fighting for the Democratic nomination, nor Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, have raised much cash with super PACs. They have, however, raised significant sums with their respective campaign committees. Sanders has raised more than $207 million, and Trump has raised more than $57 million.