Presidential Fundraising: See Who's Spending, Who's Lagging, Who's Raising and Where

New financial reports paint a revealing picture of who's backing which candidates for the White House.

U.S. five dollar bills are seen in this arranged photograph to illustrate the theme of risk in Oradell, New Jersey, U.S., on Thursday, June 18, 2015.

Photographer: Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg

Financial disclosure forms filed by most of the major presidential candidates on Wednesday have brought the race into sharper focus, revealing stark differences in the 2016 competitors' base of support, both demographically and geographically. 

While a complete picture won't be available until the end of July, when super-PACs and other outside groups that effectively serve as extensions of the campaigns disclose their fundraising reports, visualizations of the data that's in so far paint telling pictures of how successful the candidates have been in key areas for sustaining a campaign, such as mobilizing small donors and lining up major fundraisers in key places.

On average, the candidates spent 38 cents of every dollar they raised during the period. Businessman Donald Trump, a Republican, had the largest cash burn—74 percent—as he effectively spent most of the money he put into his own campaign. The person who spent their money the slowest was Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, another Republican, at 11 percent, though he also ranked toward the bottom in raising $579,000. 

For a number of the candidates, the totals in the chart reflect transfers from earlier campaign committees. The exception is Florida Republican Marco Rubio, who morphed his Senate committee into his presidential committee. That made it difficult to tell from the filings how much money was transferred into the presidential campaign. However, Rubio spokesman Alex Conant said the presidential committee inherited a total of $3.2 million from the Senate campaign committee. That would bring Rubio's total receipts for the year to just over $12 million. 

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Contributions from small donors are often seen as an indication of the breadth and depth of a candidate's support. An ability to raise money from small donors was one of the hallmarks of Barack Obama's insurgent 2008 campaign. A broad base of donors willing to give in small increments also signals greater potential fundraising going forward, because contributors have not maxed out their $5,400 legal limit.

So far, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is seeking the Democratic nomination, is winning that part of the race. More than 76 percent of Sanders' $13.7 million of individual donations came from donors who gave $200 or less. He raised a total of $15.2 million.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's campaign has looked very different. According to her filings, just 17 percent of her campaign's $47.5 million came from small donors. The campaign defended the results, saying most of the people who donated gave small amounts.

“With Republicans tapping their billionaire backers for unlimited sums of money, we are glad to be able to have such broad support to be able to show why Hillary Clinton is the only candidate who will fight for policies that allow everyday Americans to get ahead and stay ahead,” Robby Mook, Clinton's campaign manager, said in a statement.

On the Republican side, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has been lapping the field in overall financial support, thanks to fundraising by Right to Rise, a super-PAC supporting him that raised $103 million. But in terms of campaign fundraising, he lagged behind Ted Cruz. The Texas senator raised $14.3 million in the second quarter, 41 percent of which came from small donors. Meanwhile, Bush's campaign raised $11.4 million, of which just 3.2 percent came from smaller contributors.

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Wednesday's figures also revealed how the candidates are lining up support across the country. For many of the candidates, donors tend to be concentrated in traditional big-giving states along the coasts, but there are some notable exceptions. 

 

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