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The question hung over Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio when the two friends became rivals seeking the 2016 Republican presidential nomination: Would there be enough room for both of them to stick out the race?
The underwhelming financial reports the Rubio and Bush campaigns filed this week suggest the answer — dreaded by their mutual supporters — might be no.
The candidates aren’t struggling. Bush amassed more cash over the past three months than all but one of his GOP primary rivals. Rubio collected less than half of that but still has almost as much in the bank as Bush does. All the presidential campaigns had to file quarterly finance reports with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday.
Yet it was not enough. Neither candidate met the expectations of political donors, their key constituency at this point in the race.
Instead, the two campaigns started bickering over which one had more money left to spend. It was the kind of squabble that indicates a perceived threat from the other side — perhaps rooted in the realization that both candidates are trying to woo some of the same establishment contributors in a jammed Republican field.