March 19, 2016 by David K. Sutton
Why Do Candidates ‘Suspend’ Losing Campaigns?
We’ve heard it many times before, the speech where a candidate declares he or she is “suspending” their campaign. But, why not just say the campaign has come to an end? Because the use of the word “suspend” seems too “focus group,” right?
But it turns out, as well as being the softer language politicians love to use when it comes to anything negative, there’s a good reason why politicians suspend their campaigns instead of ending them. A losing campaign is often in debt. It may still have staff to pay as the campaign winds down. It may have outstanding bills to pay. Turns out, the FEC (Federal Election Commission) doesn’t legally recognize a “suspended campaign,” meaning a suspended campaign is actually legally still an an active campaign, even if the candidate is not out on the stump. Campaigns may still exist years after being suspended, usually because the campaign is still working to pay down debt.
For example, Jeb Bush’s 2016 campaign website (jeb2016.com) is still active (as of March 19, 2016), and apparently you can still donate. Same is true for Marco Rubio (marcorubio.com) and Chris Christie (chrischristie.com). — You too can donate to pay off our debt!
But, there is another small reason why a candidate would choose to suspend their campaign, it leaves open the possibility of getting back into the race should something dramatic happen. All a candidate has to do is announce they are resuming their campaign, because everything from a legal perspective is still in place. They don’t have to start over from scratch.