Public opinion polls are only half the battle in the race for the White House; candidates running for president must raise mountains of cash to keep their campaigns viable and build the kind of organization that can put them in the Oval Office.
Most of the 2016 contenders released their 3rd quarter financial statements to the Federal Election Commission on Thursday. Here's a look at the winners, the losers… and Donald Trump.
Hillary Clinton. The former secretary of State lead all 2016 wannabes, raised $28.8 million over the summer. While raking in an impressive amount, Clinton spent $25.8 million of it, for a “burn rate” of nearly 90 percent. That rate of spending could make some politicos nervous
But in a statement, her campaign noted that the Democratic frontrunner now has around $33 million cash on hand. Her loot, when combined with her chief rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), gives Democrats a major cash advantage over Republicans. And former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley has yet to file.
Ted Cruz. The Tea Party darling raised $12.2 million in the third quarter and his campaign says it has $13.5 million cash on hand--more than any other GOP contender.
Cruz has quietly crept up in the polls, coming in third place this week behind Donald Trump and Ben Carson in a recent Fox News survey of Republican primary voters. He has also been on the offense, taking shots at Trump and fellow lawmaker, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), a trend that is likely to continue ahead of the next GOP debate this month.
Bernie Sanders. Despite overtaking Clinton in some polls in the crucial early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, observers harbored doubts if the self-described democratic-socialist could keep pace with her.
The Vermont lawmaker erased those concerns when he raised $26.2 million between July 1 and September 30, mostly from small donors. Of that, he spent $11.3 million and wrapped the quarter with $27.1 million cash on hand. His campaign touted that nearly $3 million resulted from his performance in first Democratic presidential debate this week. Sanders has been on a major fundraising tour out West.
Ben Carson. The retired neurosurgeon is suspending his presidential campaign for most of October to promote his new book. Based on his fundraising numbers, that might not seem like such a strange strategy.
Carson collected $20.8 million in the last quarter, over seven million more than former Florida Governor Jeb Bush did. Recent polls show the political outside close to par Trump; he burned through $14 million over that same time period, roughly half of which went to companies that do direct mail fundraising.
In a category all his own, the billionaire real estate mogul has promised to self-fund his presidential campaign. Regardless, the reality television star raised $3.8 million in the last quarter and demonstrated his frugality, spending only $101,000, which may not account for the cost of his private jet and helicopter.
Trump has spent about $2 million since entering the race, a quarter of which paid to produce his iconic “Make America Great Again” hats.
Jeb Bush. The former GOP frontrunner raised $13.4 million in the third quarter. While that may seem like a lot of cash, it pales in comparison to the more than $20 million he raised during the prior quarter. The drop is likely tied to his drop in the polls; once seemingly unbeatable, Bush now typically comes in fifth or sixth, well below political novices like Trump and Carson.
To add insult to injury, Sen. Marco Rubio, Bush’s rival from the Sunshine State, raised only $6 million, but closed the quarter with more cash on hand, $11 million to $10.3 million for Bush.
Rand Paul. The Kentucky lawmaker is under pressure from fellow conservatives to drop his White House bid and focus on keeping his Senate seat. While Paul remains undeterred, his anemic $2.5 million in fundraising likely will only increase calls for him to drop out.
The Libertarian also spent $4.5 million, nearly twice as much as he brought in.
John Kasich. The Ohio governor entered the crowded GOP field with a splash in July, but after an uneven performance in the second Republican presidential debate, the honeymoon might be over. Kasich raised $4.4 million over two and a half months. The figure puts him in the same orbit as the more lower-rung GOP candidates, like New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who pulled in $4.2 million.