EXCLUSIVE: Max Miller, the former Trump aide mounting a primary challenge to Ohio Republican Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, raised more than $500,000 in approximately the first month of his campaign, Fox News has learned.
The four-week total underscores the powerful fundraising draw of the former president, who held an event for Miller at Trump International in Palm Beach. The average House campaign in 2018 cost about $2 million, according to Open Secrets. Fox News has learned that Miller received contributions from more than 2,500 donors in all 50 states.
Miller announced his campaign against Gonzalez after the incumbent joined 10 other Republicans to vote to impeach former President Donald Trump for incitement of an insurrection over the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Shortly after Miller entered the race on Feb. 26, Trump enthusiastically endorsed his former aide, whose past roles include a spot on Trump’s 2016 campaign, work in the Office of Presidential Personnel and as Deputy Campaign Manager for Presidential Operations.
“Max Miller is a wonderful person who did a great job at the White House and will be a fantastic Congressman,” Trump said in a statement through his Save America PAC. “He is a Marine Veteran, a son of Ohio, and a true PATRIOT.”
“Current Rep. Anthony Gonzalez should not be representing the people of the 16th district because he does not represent their interest or their heart,” Trump added. “Max Miller has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”
A representative for Miller, asked about the total the campaign raised at Trump’s Palm Beach fundraiser, said the campaign is not disclosing the amount raised at specific events.
As first-quarter 2021 fundraising numbers streamed in on Thursday, it was clear that high-profile support or opposition to Trump helped multiple candidates raise money. Punchbowl News reported that Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., one of Trump’s biggest supporters, raised about $500,000 in just four days during a visit to his home state.
Meanwhile, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., who voted to impeach Trump and has made his name as a vocal Trump critic, raised $2.2 million in the first quarter of 2021 — $1.1 million for each his campaign and his political action committee.
Trump has said that he plans to back primary challenges to a variety of Republicans who have not been loyal enough to him. He’s publicly called for voters in Wyoming, for example, to oust House GOP Conference Chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., in 2022. Cheney is also the state’s lone House member in Congress.
“The good news is in her state she’s been censured and in her state her poll numbers have dropped faster than any human being I’ve ever seen,” Trump said in his speech at CPAC. “So hopefully they’ll get rid of her with the next election.”
Donald Trump Jr., meanwhile, told Fox News at CPAC that there are “plenty” of Senate Republicans he would like to see primary challenges against and that his father will “get involved in picking individual races and individual people that have been supportive of him, and not others.”
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser and Thomas Barrabi contributed to this report.