Spending in American political elections has ballooned over the last decade. According to OpenSecrets, the total cost of the congressional and presidential elections in 2000 was around $3.1 billion. That figure jumped to nearly $6.3 billion in the 2012 elections, where $2.6 billion was spent on the presidential election alone.
A large part of that increase has been from super PACs. Super PAC funds are a type of political action committee that are allowed to raise unlimited amounts of money from corporations, unions and individuals but cannot donate directly to the candidates’ own campaigns. Instead, super PAC funds are typically used for political advertising.
As of July 31st, super PACs have raised $257 million for the 2016 candidates. That’s almost twice as much as the total raised by every candidate’s campaign committee. Clearly, super PACs are dominating the 2016 money race.
John Kasich, Donald Trump, Jim Gilmore
Super PAC Raised: Undisclosed
These three candidates all have super PACs but their fundraising totals have not been officially reported to the FEC yet. Although it has not formally filed yet, Kasich’s super PAC, New Day for America, has reportedly raised over $11 million, an impressive number for the Ohio governor.
#19. Jim Webb
Super PAC Raised: $0
Jim Webb announced that he does not want a super PAC, saying it “violates” his ethics. Webb’s campaign committee totals have not been disclosed yet.
#18. Lincoln Chafee
Super PAC Raised: $0
Like Webb, Democratic candidate Lincoln Chafee is opposed to super PACs. The former governor of Rhode Island is hoping to gain momentum through his grassroots campaign style.
#17. Bernie Sanders
Super PAC Raised: $0
An enthusiastic Bernie Sanders supporter actually started a super PAC called “Billionaires for Bernie,” despite Sanders’ disapproval of super PACs. The Vermont senator has refused any support from it.
#16. Ben Carson
Super PAC Raised: $200,000
The retired neurosurgeon has strong numbers when it comes to small campaign donations. However, his super PAC has underperformed compared to his GOP rivals.
#15. Rick Santorum
Super PAC Raised: $300,000
Santorum gained momentum in the 2012 Republican primaries before eventually losing the nomination to Mitt Romney. He’s currently trailing behind most of the candidates in both polls and fundraising totals.
#14. Martin O’Malley
Super PAC Raised: $600,000
O’Malley and Clinton are the only Democratic candidates with super PACs. The former governor of Maryland has a long way to go before he matches Hillary Clinton’s fundraising totals.
#13. George Pataki
Super PAC Raised: $900,000
Pataki’s super PAC is struggling to attract the mega-donors that have boosted his competitors’ numbers. Mirroring his desire to reduce big government, Pataki’s super PAC is named “We the People, Not Washington.”
#12. Lindsey Graham
Super PAC Raised: $2.9 million
Graham is currently lagging in the polls, and his super PAC has raised a relatively modest $2.9 million. He’ll have to pick things up in the next quarter if he wants to remain competitive.
#11. Carly Fiorina
Super PAC Raised: $3.5 million
Fiorina’s super PAC, CARLY for America, has raised over twice as much as her campaign committee. The former Hewlett-Packard executive is hoping to show the public she’s a serious political contender.
#10. Bobby Jindal
Super PAC Raised: $3.7 million
The Louisiana governor recently made headlines when he announced that his state will terminate its Medicaid contract with Planned Parenthood. Jindal’s super PAC has raised over six times as much as his campaign committee.
#9. Mike Huckabee
Super PAC Raised: $6 million
The former pastor has surprisingly strong numbers when it comes to super PAC fundraising. After losing the Republican nomination to John McCain in 2008, Huckabee is hoping to turn things around next year.
#8. Rand Paul
Super PAC Raised: $6.9 million
The self-proclaimed grassroots campaigner has certainly capitalized on small campaign donations from his supporters. But Paul has raised almost as much money from his super PACs.
#7. Rick Perry
Super PAC Raised: $13.8 million
The former Texas governor is hoping to improve on his failed 2012 run for president. After narrowly missing out on the first primary debate, Perry will have step up his campaign.
#6. Chris Christie
Super PAC Raised: $14 million
Governor Christie barely edged his way into the first GOP debate. His super PAC totals place him firmly in the middle of his GOP rivals.
#5. Marco Rubio
Super PAC Raised: $17.3 million
With fairly moderate views and a Hispanic background, Marco Rubio is hoping to appeal to a wide range of Americans in the general election. Surviving the GOP primaries might be his biggest challenge.
#4. Scott Walker
Super PAC Raised: $20 million
Walker’s campaign totals haven’t been released yet, but his super PAC numbers have been strong. The Wisconsin governor is hoping to win voters with his strong brand of conservatism.
#3. Hillary Clinton
Super PAC Raised: $20.3 million
Although she is opposed to super PACs and unlimited campaign spending, Clinton has accepted support from her super PAC, Priorities USA Action. That gives her a major lead over Martin O’Malley, who has raised just $600,000 from his super PAC.
#2. Ted Cruz
Super PAC Raised: $38.1 million
Ted Cruz takes the second spot with a whopping $38.1 million raised from his super PACs. The Tea Party candidate is hoping to shake things up for the more establishment Republican candidates.
#1. Jeb Bush
Super PAC Raised: $108.5 million
Bush blows back the competition with a staggering $108.5 million raised from his super PAC, Right to Rise. That’s more than the last four candidates combined.
The visualization below shows a breakdown of each candidate’s fundraising totals. As the graphic shows, Jeb Bush leads by a wide margin when it comes to super PACs. Clinton on the other hand takes the lead in terms of individual campaign totals.
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: 2016 Presidential Candidates: Which Candidate Has The Biggest Super PAC? [Rankings]
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