The huge field of Republican presidential contenders is helping Donald Trump maintain a big lead in the race for the GOP presidential nomination — and Trump's position makes it less likely candidates will drop out, Republicans say.
Buoyed by super-PACs, many presidential candidates have more money than in previous cycles to handle long campaigns. A single "sugar-daddy" donor can keep a struggling campaign afloat.
Many of the candidates also believe that Trump — who enjoys a double-digit lead over the 16 other big names in the race — will falter, and that they need to stay in the race to be his successor.
“As long as Trump is in the race, most of these candidates won’t see any reason to get out,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell.
Many Republicans still believe Trump will not become the party's nominee. They argue that he’s benefitting from a media frenzy, and that large swaths of the conservative electorate would never even consider voting for him.
Furthermore, Republicans say Trump’s past support for liberal causes, and his penchant for controversial remarks, will ultimately sink him.
And with huge sums of money flowing into super-PACs, the candidates will have the financial means to stick around.
“In the past you’d get out because you run out of money. That’s changed,” O’Connell said. “Now you just need a small strike force of five or 10 people and enough money to book a coach ticket on Southwest. You can sit back and rely on the super-PAC to land the haymaker.”