Fundraising totals will begin to trickle out over the next two weeks from the 20 major candidates in both parties, providing a major gauge of how each is doing. One candidate who is definitely doing well is Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who looks to be right on the heels of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in fundraising, as Politico reports:
Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton’s campaign barely outpaced Bernie Sanders’ in the third quarter of 2015, a surprising development that shows the insurgent candidate’s strength while the former secretary of state struggles.
Clinton’s operation raised more than $28 million in the third quarter after a grueling fundraising schedule, compared with about $26 million for the Vermonter — who raised his money largely from online donations, and few in-person fundraising events.
The narrow gap illustrates Sanders’ momentum in the third quarter, as he overtook Clinton in polling in both New Hampshire and Iowa. But Clinton’s overall fundraising machine remains formidable: combined with the $47.5 million she raised in the second quarter, her campaign has brought in roughly $75 million in six months. Sanders, by comparison, raised just $15 million in his first few months.
The numbers aren’t final yet, but the gap between the two isn’t likely to change much as last-minute contributions are tallied. The Sanders fundraising success comes at the same time he is drawing closer to her in polls, with the RealClearPolitics.com average of national polls showing a 13.2 percent lead for Clinton. One month ago her lead stood at roughly 25 points, and two months ago it was a 40-point lead.
Sanders’ fundraising total is impressive, and another candidate seems to be faring well too, with retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson pulling in about $20 million in the third quarter according to an AP News story:
Political newcomer Ben Carson raised more than $20 million in the past three months to fuel his bid for the Republican presidential nomination, his campaign said Wednesday, a haul of campaign cash that shatters records and sets a new bar for his GOP rivals….
"I would guess that we've outraised the Republican National Committee and many of our opponents maybe combined," [Carson campaign manager Barry] Bennett said….
Overall, Carson raised at least $20.2 million for the quarter that ended Sept. 30, he added, noting that receipts were still trickling in.
That's more money than what was raised by the GOP's entire White House field combined over the same period four years ago. Mitt Romney, the establishment favorite in 2012, raised $14.2 million during that time, while the most popular outsider, former pizza chain CEO Herman Cain, brought in $2.8 million.
While no other Republican’s fundraising totals have been released yet, it seems likely that Carson’s numbers will be towards the top of the list, given that it exceeds what any candidate raised in the second quarter, and as Politico notes, his total surpasses what the entire 2012 field raised in the third quarter.
The Carson campaign has apparently wasted no time in putting its fundraising success to use by reserving time on television stations for what is looking like a crucial benchmark in the race, the so-called “SEC Primary” occurring in early March in several southern states.
The fundraising totals for the remaining candidates will give more information on the state of the race and at the very least is likely to prompt some candidates to reconsider their bids for the White House. But for today at least it’s clear the Carson and Sanders campaigns are well on their way to mounting serious challenges for their parties’ nominations.