The campaign of billionaire Republican candidate Donald Trump is drawing on limited coffers. According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission Hillary Clinton’s campaign ended May with $42 million on hand, while Trump’s campaign has only $1.2 million in the bank. Time is getting short if Trump is to come anywhere near matching the money that Clinton will have to run her campaign.
Clinton has booked $117 million in TV advertising – Trump $0
Hillary Clinton’s campaign has reserved $117 million worth of television advertising in key battleground states between now and November, a number that is sure to increase. To date, Trump’s campaign has reserved zero dollars in television ads. Trump, who relied on mass rallies and free media coverage in the primaries, has seemingly been slow to realize that the equation has changed as the general election approaches.
It takes billions to run a presidential campaign
According to Politico, in 2012 President Obama raised $1.123 billion for his re-election campaign while challenger Mitt Romney raised $1.019 billion. However, that amount was just what each campaigned raised and did not count what super Pacs and other groups spent.
It was estimated that the total amount expended in the 2012 presidential election was close to $2.6 billion. For 2016, the number is expected to be as much as $5 billion.
According to OpenSecrets.org, the Federal Election Commission reported that as of mid-May a total of $837 million had been raised the by the various 2016 presidential candidates and another $462 million by super PACs. Hillary Clinton had raised the most with $314 million; Bernie Sanders was second with $209 million and Donald Trump a distant third with $66 million.
Money may be a problem for Trump
He’s not your typical politician who dials for dollars every day. He’s not hitting the phones every day.
—Ray Washburne in Politico
Trump took pride in largely self-funding his primary campaign. Trump has said that he recognizes the need to raise money for the general election campaign, but some observers feel that time is running short for Trump to raise even a billion dollars. The controversy that the Republican nominee generates has made major GOP donors wary of putting up their money.
We want to keep it lean. I'm not looking to spend all this money. You know, I hear people spend a billion dollars. I’m saying, how do you spend a billion dollars? It's impossible. Politicians are the only ones who can spend a billion dollars.
So far, Donald Trump has defied conventional wisdom in conducting his campaign and perhaps time will prove him correct about not needing to raise a billion dollars. His opponent, Hillary Clinton is well on her way to raising and spending more than a billion dollars so Trump had better hope that money can’t buy an election.