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Trump Launches GOP’s New Digital Fundraising Tool to Help Party Down Ballot

Bill Allison

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump launched the Republican Party’s new digital tool designed to close the online fundraising gap with Democrats.

Trump announced WinRed with a tweet Monday, calling its creation “a priority" that “will allow my campaign and other Republicans to compete with the Democrats money machine.”

The new tool is the GOP’s version of ActBlue, the online platform that has raised $3.5 billion for Democratic candidates and causes since 2004, including $1.3 billion in the 2018 midterm elections.

In his tweet, Trump included a link to a donation page for the Trump Make America Great Again joint fundraising committee, which focuses on small-dollar donors and benefits his campaign and the Republican National Committee.

Until the launch of WinRed, which, like ActBlue, also functions as a political action committee, Republicans didn’t have a single platform that donors could use to contribute to candidates across the party. That put the GOP at a disadvantage, forcing donors who wanted to contribute online to create separate accounts each time they gave to a different candidate. ActBlue allows Democratic contributors to give to any candidate they like once they’ve set up their accounts.

WinRed relies on two entities that were key to Trump’s 2016 success. It combines Revv, the payment-processing company his campaign used whenever online donors made contributions, with Data Trust, which maintains the RNC’s voter information files.

Trump’s campaign and the RNC have built a formidable small-dollar donor fundraising operation. Contributors giving $200 or less have contributed $59 million to them, FEC records show. The GOP hopes that WinRed will allow congressional candidates and committees to emulate that success.

In the 2018 midterm elections, ActBlue helped fuel a $525 million spending advantage for all Democratic committees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The GOP deficit was particularly pronounced in House races, where Democrats raised $1 billion, compared with $599 million for Republicans.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bill Allison in Washington at ballison14@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at sforden@bloomberg.net, Max Berley

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