There’s no shortage of money circulating in the 2016 presidential race. NBC News’ First Read, taking note of the official second-quarter fundraising reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, reports $385 million has already been donated to either candidates or affiliated entities like super PACs.
Given that the actual presidential election is still 69 weeks away, that’s a pretty striking figure.
Of course, the money isn’t divided evenly. I put together the above chart to show how the most competitive candidates are doing, omitting candidates who’ve raised below $3 million.
Note, the lighter colors – red for Republicans, blue for Democrats – show how much money the candidates have raised through their campaigns, while the darker colors show how much has been raised by the candidates’ allied, outside groups.
For some, it’s not a pretty picture. The race for votes is obviously paramount, but at this stage in the election cycle, the race for donors matters, too.
Some caveats are in order, just to help add some context to all of this:
* Some candidates, most notably Rand Paul, have not yet said what their super PACs have raised – the FEC deadline is July 31 – while other candidates, most notably Bernie Sanders, do not have super PACs or affiliated outside groups.
* The chart points to second-quarter fundraising, but Ted Cruz and Ben Carson announced earlier than most and both raised a little more in the first quarter.
* Marco Rubio has transferred $3.2 million from his Senate account, which is added to his overall totals.
* Scott Walker is expected to be a top-tier candidate, but he wasn’t in the race in the second quarter, and he hasn’t yet announced his super PAC tallies, so he is not included in the above image.
It’s also important to emphasize that this is one of several relevant metrics, and many insiders are quick to remind the media that the candidate who raises the most money doesn’t always win.
What’s more, as in real life, it’s not always how much money one has, but how well one handles the available resource.
That said, for candidates who are struggling, these numbers have a practical implication. Campaigns with limited resources aren’t able to buy TV time; they tend to have smaller campaign operations in early nominating states; and they often have trouble convincing major donors to write big checks when others aren’t doing the same.
There’s certainly time for the campaign-finance picture to change, but not a lot of time.
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