Elections in a democratic nation are one of the most important political events, candidates from all over the nation compete to win the vote and win office. This applies from the lower level elections to the Presidential elections of the whole nation.
Politicians need to raise money if they want to compete in the elections and get a result. Campaigns and advertisements are expensive and require a lot of expenditure from the candidate’s side. In fact, the total money spent in the 2016 Presidential campaign alone was around $2,386,876,712 as per data from Opensecrets.
Elections are a very expensive ordeal and congressional races alone cost around $5,725,183,133 in 2018. There are various ways in which politicians can raise the money required for their campaign, public funds and super Political Action Committees also raise a substantial amount of money for their campaigns.
How Do Politicians Raise Money For their Campaigns
Politicians require a lot of money to win office and outreach and more interaction with potential voters could be the difference between winning and losing the elections. Candidates need to secure more votes in order to win the election and to secure more votes they need to reach more number of people.
Here are some of the ways in which politicians can raise money for their campaigns.
Contributions From Individuals (Large)
Individuals contribute a lot of money for candidates, in fact, according to Opensecrets, half the money raised by House candidates are given by large individual contributors. According to the rules set by the Federal Election Commission, all donations over $200 must be disclosed to the FEC with all the details of the donors provided to the FEC.
The donation is made public to all the citizens via the internet or the website of the commission.
Political Action Committees
One-third of the campaign raised money is raised by the Political action committees or to abbreviate PACs.
They can contribute to up to $5,000 per election to federal candidates. Due to FEC rules that primary elections and general elections count as separate elections, they can contribute around $10,000 to one candidate per election year.
Individual Donations (Small)
Political candidates also receive small donations from various people most of them their supporters. The small donation also contributes a large portion of their funds. Donations of less than $200 are considered small donations.
They do not have to be reported to the FEC but the total sum has to be provided to the commission.
The Candidate’s Own Money
The candidates themselves can also invest in their campaigns, this was showcased by the Trump investing heavily in his own campaign.
The FEC has not set any limits on how much the candidate can spend on their campaigns as long as it is their own money.
Similarly, Party and joint fundraising committees also raise money for their campaigns. In recent history, politicians have spent jaw-dropping amounts on their political campaigns. We have listed some politicians and the money they raised as well as their spending on Presidential campaigns.
Politicians Who Have Spent Heaps On Their Presidential Campaign
Starting with the current President Of The USA, Donald Trump won the 2016 Presidential campaign and raised a whopping $957.6 million. Breaking down his money he raised around $334.8 million from campaigns and the Party and joint fundraising committees raised $543.4 million.
To add to this, the upper PACs raised around $79.3 million. The total expenditure made by the POTUS reached almost $1 billion. The media alone received $194.4 alone from Donald Trump and his Presidential campaign team.
The main competition for Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential campaigns Hillary Clinton pushed Trump to the brink before eventually losing the 2016 elections. She spent heaps of money on the 2016 campaign, in fact, she and her campaign team, as well as party, had already raised over $1.4 billion as of Dec 31, 2016.
Clinton raised $623.1 million from campaigns and events, $598.2 million from a party and joint fundraising committees and $204.4 million was raised by Super PACs.
Former President Barack Obama won office twice in two consecutive terms in 2008 and 2012. He raised a then-record $750 million while campaigning for the 2008 Presidential campaign. As per data from NYTimes, he spent more than $136 million from October 16 to November 24 while campaigning for the 2008 Presidency.
Obama ran for the second time in 2012 and according to reports from the Federal Election Commission, supporters had spent around $400 million on his campaigns from early-2011 to June 30, 2012. Similarly, he raised another $86,000,000 during the second quarter of fundraising.
All in all, he spent around $721,397,677 for his winning campaign of 2012. He raised $722,393,592 and the overall spending of his Democratic party via different candidate was around $1,144,965,831 according to Opensecrets.
Republican Presidential candidate for 2012 Mitt Romney was the competition for Barack Obama in 2012’s POTUS race. Romney lost the Electoral College as well as the popular vote in the election.
He spent around $449,507,659 out of $449,886,513 he and his team had raised by campaigning. All together his party, the Republican party, spent around $1,254,323,304.
George W. Bush
The POTUS from 2004 to 2008 George W. Bush became President after a much-publicized and marketed campaign. He spent around $367,228,819 in the campaign which proved to be a good investment as he became the President beating out his other major competitor John F. Kerry who spent $328,479,256 on his campaign.
Bush had spent a lot of money on his campaign, in fact, he set a spending record as Presidential campaign at the time.
Amount Spent By Candidates As Whole
The Following table represents the amount of money spent by the candidates on Presidential campaigns from 2000 to 2016.
Amount Spent On Campaign
As we can see, politicians spend a lot of money on their campaigns especially when it comes to taking the top spot of the country’s politics. Presidential campaigns see a lot of expenditure by the candidates and they spend most of the money that they raise via their campaigns and events.