On Thursday, Donald Trump announced his new national finance chairman (a Goldman Sachs alumnus) and so, not surprisingly, he will be, like Hillary Clinton, trying to raise a huge amount of money for his Presidential campaign. Let’s examine what Donald Trump would have to do to be competitive financially with Hillary Clinton (and we can also ask the question of whether he needs as much money as Hillary Clinton.) Note: you can see the related Morning Joe clip here.
In 2012, Obama and Romney (and their allies) each raised and spent more than $1 billion from the beginning of their efforts until November. This is comprised of three basic kinds of money: candidate contributions (limited to $2,700 per donor), contributions to the DNC and RNC (which were limited to about $35,000 but those limits are now about 10 times higher), and Super PAC money, which is unlimited and in theory, is raised by unaffiliated third parties. (Note that since 2008, all presidential candidates have chosen not to receive public funds for the general election, which would limit their spending to a much lower number.)
So far in this cycle, Secretary Clinton has raised $180 million, while the DNC has raised $92 million. Her Super PAC and other groups have raised a total of $76 million.
While Donald Trump has said that he is self-financing, he does have a “Donate” button on his website and he has raised $12 million from donations. Interestingly, even with all the chaos on the Republican side, the RNC has raised $138 million, almost 50% more than the DNC, thanks to the hard work of RNC chairman Reince Priebus.
On the spending side, through the end of March, Clinton had spent $151 million and Trump had spent just $46 million.
This chart shows that in 2012, the bulk of the fundraising occurred after March of the election year.
Obama raised $527 million of candidate money (limited to $2,700 per person) while Romney raised $363 million.
The RNC far out raised the DNC, $245 million to $117 million and the Republican Super PAC and other outside groups also far outraised their Democratic counterparts.
So the questions are:
Does Donald Trump need to match Hillary Clinton’s fundraising in order to run an effective campaign?
And if he does, can he put together the fundraising apparatus and will he do the numerous fundraising events needed to raise this money?