The Real Cost of a Presidential Campaign

By Kirsten Salyer - 2012-03-06T16:55:54Z

Photograph by Charles Ommanney/Getty Images

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Ideas are expensive. Candidates -- both dropouts and survivors -- have so far shelled out more than $13 million on political consultants, $7 million-plus on fundraising consultants, and $3.4 million on media consultants, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In January, Santorum's biggest campaign expense was $1.5 million paid to media consulting firm BrabenderCox. Direct mail consulting was the fifth-biggest expense for Romney's campaign over that same period, costing $551,000.