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Jeanne Cummings

Billionaires Alter 2016 Playing Field

Jeb Bush will likely have a big money lead. Unless some billionaire decides otherwise.
Sheldon Adelson: You need how much?

Sheldon Adelson: You need how much?

Photographer: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Jeb Bush is trying to lock in a top spot in the Republican presidential field by banking $100 million by the end of this month, a financial "shock-and-awe" strategy that helped his brother clear candidates from the field in the 2000 Republican presidential primary. In recent elections, however, dominating the early money hasn’t been a sure route to the nomination.

In 2004, Howard Dean rode the Democratic Party's antiwar sentiment to become the early fundraising giant. John Kerry, though, became the Democratic nominee. In 2008, Mitt Romney cruised to victory in the Republican money race. John McCain, after his campaign went broke, captured the Republican nomination. In 2008, Hillary Clinton started off stronger than Barack Obama, but Obama soon eclipsed her in both money and votes.