Financial Reporting

Clinton, Bush Among Campaign Big Spenders

The Democratic leader for the White House and the GOP's Bush have both spent nearly 90% of what they raised in the third quarter.
Katie Kuehner-HebertOctober 16, 2015
Clinton, Bush Among Campaign Big Spenders

The presidential candidates are spending the money they raise at varying rates, with Hillary Clinton well ahead of Democratic rival Bernie Sanders and, on the GOP side, Jeb Bush running one of the more costly campaigns.

According to an analysis of campaign finance filings by Mother Jones, Sanders and Clinton in the third quarter raised $26.2 million and $29.1 million, respectively.

While Sanders spent just $11.2 million of what he raised, ending September with more than $27.1 million in the bank, Clinton spent $25.7 million over the past three months.

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“That means Clinton must maintain her campaign’s furious pace of fundraising or face the prospect of digging into her reserves,” Mother Jones said.

Leading the Republican side in fundraising for the third quarter was Ben Carson, with $20.7 million. But his campaign spent $14.2 million, most of it on fundraising costs, such as fees for postage, phone calls, and consultants.

Jeb Bush pulled in $13.3 million and spent nearly all of it — $11.4 million. “Bush’s spending habits don’t show a candidate who seems particularly worried about the bottom line, at least not yet,” Mother Jones said, noting he has the luxury of support from the best-financed super-PAC, Right to Rise.

Ted Cruz, who is backed by several well-funded super-PACs, might have enjoyed the best fundraising quarter of the major GOP candidates, raising $12.2 million and spending $6.9 million. Cruz ended the month of September with more cash on hand than any other GOP candidate — $13.7 million.

Rand Paul’s finances “reflect a campaign that’s living on borrowed time,” Mother Jones said. He raised just $2.5 million in the last three months, but his campaign spent $4.5 million, leaving him “with a dwindling pile of cash that won’t cover another three months of campaigning if he doesn’t boost his fundraising.”

The Wall Street Journal said Marco Rubio has among the lowest “burn rates” in the field, spending just 39% of all of the money he has raised, with $11 million left in the bank.

Rubio’s office furniture has been purchased off Craigslist and staffers routinely travel on such budget airlines as Southwest, according to a campaign spokesman.

Meanwhile, GOP pacesetter Donald Trump raised $3.9 million, including $2.7 million from small donors who gave less than $200, but his campaign has spent $4.1 million, leaving it with just $254,000 in the bank.

“The billionaire real estate and reality TV mogul doesn’t have the same financial constraints as his opponents, however,” Mother Jones said. “Trump has vowed to dump $1 billion of his fortune into the race, which means he can afford to remain in the campaign to troll his rivals indefinitely.”