The Race to Fund: Which Presidential Candidates are Winning?

There are nearly 500 days remaining until voters head to the polls to choose their next president. Candidates are hitting the road — from announcement speeches and fundraising campaigns to terrible mistakes. This Silk uses data from Open Secrets, a project of the Center for Responsive Politics, to shed some light on the upcoming election through profiling candidates and analyzing their donor contributions.

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As of July 2015, a total of twenty candidates have officially filed and declared their candidacy — three of which are women. An astounding majority of candidates are from the Republican Party, with only five from the Democratic Party. Jill Stein, a member of the Green Party, is running for presidency for the second time. Her political history also includes two failed attempts to become the governor of Massachusetts.

Percentage of Presidential candidates by political party

Source: Open Secrets

According to the data gathered from Open Secrets’ “2016 Presidential Race” database, a number of candidates are from Florida (4), followed by New York (3), Texas (2), Virginia (2), and Kentucky (1).

Number of Presidential candidates by home state

FEC Filing and Campaign Announcements

When it comes to the FEC filing data and presidential candidacy announcements, some candidates were hastier than others. This table lists each presidential candidate accounting to the date they announced their candidacy, as well as a link to their campaign website. Republican candidate Ted Cruz was the first candidate to announce his candidacy and the only candidate to announce in March 2015. Republican candidates Jim Webb and, more recently, Scott Walker are the latest candidates to announce their presidency — on July 2 and July 13 respectively.

Presidential candidates: FEC announcement date and campaign website

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The numbers below represent top contributors to candidates in the Democratic, Republican, and Green Party. According to the details of the Open Secrets database: “the money came from the organizations’ PACs; their individual members, employees or owners; and those individuals’ immediate families. At the federal level, the organizations themselves did not donate, as they are prohibited by law from doing so.”

To explore each “individual” and “organization” figure, visit each candidate’s appropriate source on the Silk website.

Contributors to Candidates from the Democratic Party

The figures above outlines contributions to candidates throughout their entire political career. In the case of the presidential elections of 2016, the majority of contributors to Hillary Clinton are from Wall Street. “Wall Street Loves Hillary,” as William D. Cohan outlines in his article for Politico. The president of Morgan Stanley Wealth and Investment Management stated that “[Hillary], like her husband, will govern from the center, and work to get things done, and be capable of garnering support across different groups, including working with Republicans.” Cohan also stated that both Hillary Clinton and her husband “have always courted Wall Street assiduously and without apology.” With that unapologetic support, it is no wonder that the majority of those contributing to Hillary’s political campaign over the last few years are from Wall Street. Whether it is individuals affiliated with Citigroup or Goldman Sachs, Wall Street’s love for Hillary has not only garnered her popularity, but also significant contributions.

On the other hand, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders’ contributors are coming from ordinary citizens, including those affiliated with workers’ unions and educational organizations. In early May 2015 Bernie Sanders raised $1.5 million in only 24 hours. Evidently, unlike Hillary, Sanders isn’t garnering support from wealthy donors and corporate PACs. He recently joked with Salon in an interview; “I am not going to start a super PAC. I am not going to go around the country talking to millionaires. I am saving my time, because they wouldn’t give me any money anyhow — and that’s fine.” According to CNN as of July 2, 2015, Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign has raised an estimated $15 million from 250,000 donors. The average donation is reportedly $33.51 and nearly 99% of all donations were under $250.

Some candidates have been more successful than others in terms of fundraising specifically for the 2016 elections. Hillary Clinton, for example, has raised the most campaign money ($47.5 million); followed by Bernie Sanders ($15.2 million). Unsurprisingly, the majority (80%) of Sanders’ contributions come from donations of $200 or less.

Top 5 candidates by amount of campaign money raised

Contributors to Candidates from the Republican Party

When it comes to donors to Republican candidates, both Ted Cruz and Rand Paul seem to be garnering contributions from individuals affiliated with either Club for Growth or the Senate Conservatives Fund. Club for Growth, a conservative political advocacy group based in Washington, is the top-donor to both Cruz and Paul. Donors from the Murray Energy Corporation, the largest underground coal mining company in the United States, are considered as one of the top-10 contributors to Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum and Lindsey Graham. Additionally, donors from Morgan Stanley have reportedly contributed to Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, and Lindsey Graham.

In terms of the amount of money received from outside sources, Jeb Bush has received the “most outside support.” So far, he has raised an astonishing $103 million dollars from outside groups such as super PACS, followed by Ted Cruz ($38 million), and Marco Rubio ($31.9 million).

Top 5 candidates by amount of money received from outside sources

Contributors to Candidates from Other Parties

As mentioned earlier, this is Jill Stein’s second attempt at running for presidency. In 2012, she received about 0.36% of the votes. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Stein is “staunchly against money flooding politics” and she refused contributions from political action committees in the past and will likely do so again for this campaign. Additionally, Stein, along with Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley, are the only candidates pledging against accepting contributions from the fossil fuel industry.

Similar to Sanders, Stein does not have the support of Wall Street. In a recent interview, she stated that the campaign funds that she raises are “a drop in the ocean compared to the $900 million the Koch brothers alone plan to spend.” Still, she urges donors to donate at least $5 to support her campaign.

Top contributors to Jill Stein (2011–2014)

If you would like to explore the 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections even further, visit this Silk to browse tables, charts, and graphs and customize available information

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