As of December 31, 2011 the presidential fundraising total of all declared presidential candidates has surpassed $275 million. The candidate with the largest fundraising total is President Obama with $125.2 million. The runner-up is Mitt Romney with $56.5 million. Ron Paul is third with $25.9 million. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum trail far behind with $12.6 million and $2.2 million.
Donation Totals per Campaign as of Dec 31, 2011
- Barack Obama – $125.2 million
- Mitt Romney – $56.5 million
- Ron Paul – $25.9 million
- Newt Gingrich – $12.6 million
- Rick Santorum – $2.2 million
These numbers are official campaign numbers and do not reflect Super PAC donations that support each candidate. According to OpenSecrets.org:
as of today, Super PACs aligned in support of a specific presidential candidate have spent $41.7 million.
It’s safe to say the combined donation total of all Super PACs is probably much higher.
An interesting tidbit about campaign fundraising is the break down of small donations. Small donations are typically classified as $200 and less.
Small-Dollar Donations as Percent of Total Donations per Campaign
- Ron Paul – 52%
- Newt Gingrich – 49%
- Barack Obama – 47%
- Rick Santorum – 32%
- Mitt Romney – 9%
The Obama campaign of 2008 prided itself on the percentage of small-dollar donations but so far in the 2012 campaign Ron Paul is leading with 52%. Even Newt Gingrich is higher at 49%. But if we limit the field to President Obama and his most likely opponent, Mitt Romney, there’s a stark difference. Only 9% of donations to Romney’s campaign are small-dollar donations. Given Romney’s pedigree this isn’t all that surprising.
The stated goal of the Obama campaign was to become the first campaign to raise one billion dollars. That probably isn’t going to happen but it is all but certain that all campaigns combined will raise well over one billion.
This is a sad statement about our democratic process. It’s less of an issue when it comes to small-dollar donations, but the large dollar-donations shouldn’t be allowed. One, it reinforces the idea that money is speech. Two, it serves to increase the power of a select few wealthy elites that have the money to influence an election. And three, just think about how much good could be accomplished in this country with one billion dollars instead of wasting it on negative campaign ads that are here today and gone tomorrow and serve no useful purpose for building a better tomorrow.