And They’re Off!

The race to succeed Barack Obama and become the 45th President of the United States is underway. There is no shortage of candidates from whom advocates of either major party might choose.

Ohio Governor John Kasich is widely expected to announce his candidacy for President next week on Wednesday. The conventional wisdom is still that Vice President Joe Biden will not run for President, but that’s becoming a little bit uncertain. I suppose the big political pheonmena are the emergence of Donald Trump as the guy sucking all the oxygen out of the Republicans’ room, and Bernie Sanders’ insurgency on the Democrats’ side.

So with that, here’s a quick glance at the conventional wisdom’s list of serious contenders:


Republicans

CandidateFormally DeclaredTop Line on C.V., home stateMoney RaisedMoney SpentRecent PollingNotes
Jeb BushJune 15, 2015Governor of Florida, 1999-2007$11,429,897$3,078,08715.0%
Ben CarsonMay 4, 2015Pediatric Neurosurgeon (Virginia)$10,611,250$5,896,9296.0%
Chris ChristieJune 30, 2015Governor of New Jersey, 2010-presentno FEC reportno FEC report2.0%
Ted CruzMarch 23, 2015Senator, Texas, 2013-present$14,349,160$5,821,5649.0%
Carly FiorinaMay 4, 2015CEO, Hewlett-Packard, 1999-2005 (California)no FEC reportno FEC report1.0%
Lindsey GrahamJune 1, 2015Senator, South Carolina, 2003-presentno FEC reportno FEC reportnegligible
Mike HuckabeeMay 5, 2015Governor, Arkansas, 1996-2007$2,004,462$1,118,9917.0%
Bobby JindalJune 24, 2015Governor of Louisiana, 2008-present$578,758$65,0432.0%
John KasichJuly 21, 2015
(anticipated)
Governor, Ohio, 2011-presentno FEC reportno FEC report1.0%Net balance of $581,393 left over from exploratory fundraising for 2012 Presidential campaign.
George PatakiMay 28, 2015Governor, New York, 1995-2007$255,795$48,175negligibleLikely supporters include Log Cabin Republicans, candidate’s immediate family, and my dad.
Rand PaulApril 7, 2015Senator, Kentucky, 2011-present$6,932,779$2,771,2646.0%
Rick PerryJune 4, 2015Governor of Texas, 2001-2014$1,139,366$597,5422.0%Money raised includes $55,250 loan from candidate.
Marco RubioApril 13, 2015Senator, Florida, 2011-present$917,946$190,5366.0%
Rick SantorumMay 27, 2015Senator, Pennsylvania, 1995-2006$607,617$375,5982.0%
Donald TrumpJune 16, 2015Real estate developer (New York)$1,902,410.00$1,414,67413.0%Money raised includes $1,804,747 loan from candidate; noncandidate contributions total $92,249.
Scott WalkerJuly 13, 2015Governor of Wisconsin, 2011-presentmore than $5,000no FEC report7.0%Vague campaign contribution report filed provisionally prior to declaration.

 


Democrats

CandidateFormally DeclaredTop Line on C.V., home stateMoney RaisedMoney SpentRecent PollingNotes
Joe Bidenno declaration; intentions uncertainVice President, 2009-present (Delaware)no FEC reportno FEC report10.5%“Draft Biden” campaign registered with FEC has raised $85,880 and spent $69,877.
Lincoln ChafeeJune 3, 2015Governor, Rhode Island, 2011-2014$392,743$63,757negligible
Hillary ClintonJuly 13, 2015Secretary of State, 2009-2013 (New York)$47,000,000$19,000,00055.0%No FEC report yet on file; contribution and spending numbers are per media reports; candidate has lent $275,000 of her own money to campaign.
Martin O’MalleyMay 30, 2015Governor, Maryland, 2007-2015no FEC reportno FEC report0.5%
Bernie SandersApril 30, 2015Senator, Vermont, 2007-present$15,247,353$3,085,61515.5%
Jim WebbJuly 2, 2015Senator, Virginia, 2007-2013no FEC reportno FEC report1.5%

 

Polling numbers reported above for Republican are those reported by the Monmouth poll on July 13, 2015. Democratic poll numbers are the averages of the Monmouth and USA Today polls, both released July 15, 2015. Fundraising and spending numbers taken mostly from FEC reports with exception of Hillary Clinton, whose campaign has not yet made a financial filing with the FEC but which has bragged unquietly about its monetary prowess to a much-impressed Fourth Estate.

If I were a betting man, I’d predict Scott Walker to win the Republican nomination against the still-seemingly-inevitable Hillary Clinton nomination. But, it’s only July of 2015, and there’s about a year to go before we can expect a candidate to go over the top in their primary election delegate count. That is a very, very long time for this sort of thing.

 

Burt LikkoBurt Likko is the pseudonym of an attorney in Southern California and the managing editor of Ordinary Times. His interests include Constitutional law with a special interest in law relating to the concept of separation of church and state, cooking, good wine, and bad science fiction movies. Follow his sporadic Tweets at @burtlikko, and his Flipboard at Burt Likko.

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55 thoughts on “And They’re Off!

      • I know I’ll regret admitting this… When I want a straightforward academic-looking table, I jump over to a command line, use a text editor to build the simple input file, run the file through groff and pic (GNU versions of 30yo UNIX software), run it through a command-line image manipulation toolkit (that’s 20 years old) to get a compact trimmed JPEG image, then embed the image. The software gets padding and alignment right without futzing. I know what people are going to see, as opposed to what the table might look like after it runs through WordPress’s display width limits for OT and the reader’s browser settings forcing 24-point Comic Sans font.

        But I digress. Yes, Chrisocracy!

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  1. Just a quick note that these numbers omit SuperPAC fundraising. Also, the NPR chart there is pretty solidly informative work with the same SuperPAC caveat.

    Jeb Bush’s Right to Rise superPAC, for example, has reported that it raised $103 million, which means Bush has $114 million in his corner — 10 times the $11.4 million his campaign raised, and enough to dwarf the total raised by the Clinton campaign plus the $15.6 million her Priorities USA PAC has reportedly raised.

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    • Yeah, I just used FEC numbers for the designated “principal campaign” for each candidate (except for Biden, who has none, and Kasich, who has yet to formally declare). Both for ease of research, and to avoid having to dig up how many SuperPACs and other third-party groups were out there under Gods-only-know how many different names, holding money for the ostensible benefit of one or another candidate.

      But you’re dead-on to note that a money picture isn’t complete without knowing where SuperPAC funds are. Unless I’m quite mistaken about this, SuperPAC money can be used for other candidates if so directed by the candidate. So if Bush were to drop out of the race for some reason (which I doubt he’d do until at least after the Florida primary), he’d have massive dough available to lend to whatever other candidate he chose to endorse, enough money to make a big difference on the future race (and maybe secure a VP or Cabinet designation).

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        • Ah, you see, that’s why you wait so long to announce. Because BEFORE you’re an announced, official candidate — you can coordinate all you want. Set up PACs, staff them with close friends and confidantes, trusted political allies, people who you have a history with.

          And you can game out all sorts of things.

          So even without breaching the law an iota, you can announce with a PAC already existing that — while not allowed to coordinate with you — is packed full of money, people who know your gamebook and who are staffed entirely with loyalists.

          Jeb did his real fundraising before he announced.

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          • Someone needs to do a post about that weird problem that the FEC is running into that it’s illegal for PACs to use candidate names if they’re not affiliated with the candidate…but, what, exactly, is the different between affiliation and coordination?

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            • If only the FEC or Congress had thought all this out when the made law enabling all this money…

              Oh wait, that was a SCOTUS decision. And, of course, given the names in the majority “activist” can’t possibly be correct. Those five would never, ever, ever think of overturning law and precedent…

              Seriously, the flood of money has — to my shock — bitten the GOP on the butt. Be careful what you wish for, I guess.

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      • if so directed by the candidate

        Candidates cannot direct SuperPAC spending! That would be illegal!

        But yes, the PAC can do literally whatever it wants with the money. So if you’re willing to suspend disbelief and assume that Bush has some ability to influence Right to Rise, he could certainly be a kingmaker.

        Incidentally, preparing for the election season is always a good time to go back to the Colbert archives on this stuff.

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  2. I remember when Pataki was considered a big deal in Republican politics because he unseated the hated-liberal Mario Cuomo in 1994. This is the same year Bush II beat Ann Richards. Cuomo and Richards did an adorable Doritos commercial together. Pataki is now considered too moderate for the GOP and this is a mere 21 years later. Though is there anyone besides Lincoln, Nixon and Reagan who won the Presidency after spending many years out of office? FDR was out of office for most of the 1920s but became Governor of New York for a few years before winning the Presidency in 1932. Eisenhower was in the public eye because of WWII. Nixon might have been the only one to sink back to being a private practice lawyer after his defeats in 1960 and 1962. Reagan was out of office for most of the 1970s but kept himself in the public spotlight.

    I think the GOP nom goes to Jeb! or Walker. I’ve seen Kaisch floated as a dark candidate. I’d bet the Rubio gets the Veep nod. Though if Jeb gets the nod, I can see him picking Walker.

    Unless something interesting happens, HRC is almost certainly the Democratic nominee. Sanders does seem to be pushing her to the left. Our North thinks she will revert to DLC triangulating-centerist once the nomination is in but I have my hopes that she will stay liberal.

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      • That’s some serious fifth-dimensional chess you’ve got going there. Seems to me Clinton would much, much prefer to have the field essentially to herself to occupy the center right from the start, and Sanders’ intrusion and consequent leftward tug is considered very much unwelcome at Camp Hillary.

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        • Burt,
          The Kabuki that is Bernie is for a couple of factors, really…
          1) People really, really liked being asked for their votes when it was Obama versus Hillary. If no one credible is running, Hillary can’t do that.
          2) Democrats are understandably asking if Hillary can do better than Mark Penn, and can run a competent campaign. Running against Bernie shows that.
          3) Hillary gets a free test to see what the Kossacks (and others) really care about. Bernie can run left on everything, and Hillary can run left on what the lefties like.

          Hillary wanted Bernie — Webb would have run in any case, but… he runs right. At least we don’t have Lawn Gnome running this year!! (and yes, without someone credible running on the left, we do risk someone like Kucinich).

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    • Eisenhower was in the public eye because of WWII.

      You are overlooking several others that come into the presidency the military route, including Grant and Taylor (and, for that matter, Washington: he was in the Virginia House of Burgesses for a few years, but that was decades earlier).

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    • She will stay where her polling suggests the votes are I would expect. That’ll probably be slightly to the right of where she is during the nomination process but definitely to the left of the previous Clinton campaign since A) there’s the ACA to protect and B) neocon thinking is utterly discredited so she’ll be having to lay low on her hawkish impulses.

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  3. If I were a betting man, I’d predict Scott Walker to win the Republican nomination against the still-seemingly-inevitable Hillary Clinton nomination.

    I’d put my money on Jeb! on the grounds that he seems to be the most establishment candidate, and the establishment usually gets its man in the end. But I’d want some odds before I placed the bet.

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  4. Holy cow, the Dems have a ton of money, and seemingly not just because it’s more concentrated. Clinton alone has nearly as much money as the combined accounts of the 11 (R) candidates with FEC filings.

    The race as a whole is just swimming in money. This gives me a bad, bad, feeling. At this rate, I’ll never be able to buy myself a city councilman, much less anyone at the federal level.

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  5. Things are really starting to fall into place for Jeb until the last couple of months, who I have been skeptical about. Walker is the next most likely, followed by Rubio and then less likely Perry then Cruz.

    None of the other candidates have a chance. If all of the above blow it spectacularly or otherwise fail, Mitt Romney will be the nominee.

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    • I’m truly taken aback most by the amount of money that Carson and Cruz have raised. It may well be that their success is what’s causing the Establishment to rally ’round Jeb! so quickly — although now, they may want to give Walker a try-it-before-you-buy-it-test-drive.

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      • I’m taken aback by the amount of money Carson has *SPENT*.

        Not that I’m necessarily in his target audience, mind, but Colorado Springs has his target audience and you’d think that he’d have had *SOME* visibility here, if only to do some light fundraising.

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  6. Burt, sir, you included Trump in a list of “serious candidates”. Seriously Burt, surely this is a typo?

    My money is that Trump runs until he can get into the first debate and bloviate a lot but bails before he is forced by election regulations to disclose his finances (which would demonstrate that he’s a millionaire, not a billionaire).

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      • If I recall correctly the first debate has to let in the top polling candidates. If Trump can stay atop the charts that long they should in theory have to let him in. If they don’t then he’ll pitch a very public fit which would also serve his purposes.

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        • I think it’s possible he will choose not to debate more than once.

          Like Cain, I have the sense that Trump is using his candidacy as marketing for his other potential business interests. Unlike Cain, at least at the moment that seems to be backfiring for him. I predict he will debate on August 9th, throw out a few headline stealing lines, and then have reasons not to do any other debates and instead focus on getting free interview time on TV and radio… and then bow out before the end of the year.

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          • That’s entirely possible. OTOH, I didn’t actually think he would make it this far. I’m actually leaning a bit towards the notion that he is really an egomaniac. I’m less than 100% certain he won’t genuinely explore a third party run.

            But hell if I know. All I know is that I have never seen a candidate do more in service of another candidate (Jeb) since I’ve been following politics.

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            • As I understand it there are financial disclosure rules that Trump will take to like a vampire takes to garlic and crucifixes. He’ll raise a stink at the first debate then bail before the FCC forces him to admit he’s a piker millionaire instead of a big fish billionaire. I’m presuming this is an ego run and thus it’ll be quashed when his larger ego play is threatened.

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              • I didn’t expect him to get this far, though. I was sure that he was going to toy around with it and toy around with it and never formally announce. Then, much counter to his own self-interest, he did. He’s off the rails. That’s why I’m thinking egomania, and maybe not in a way that will have him leave the stage in a timely and prudent manner.

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    • *nods* Trump controls a lot more money than he actually owns.
      Somehow stupid people give him much money.

      I know smarter businessmen than Trump (though, actually, I think they blow up more stuff…)

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      • Trump is currently polling 13%, and calling the shots on the issues.

        Carson has induced people to give him eight figures’ worth of money.

        Do I believe, even for a nanosecond, that either of them are going to be nominated? I may be a “generous soul,” to use ‘s polite euphemism, but I’m not stooopid. But those two facts merit their inclusion in the game as actual players.

        We wouldn’t look back over the 2008 Presidential campaign without discussing Rudy! Giuliani’s bid for the nomination — he got lots of early money, got lots of early endorsements, was the front-runner for quite a lot of the early polls, and called a lot of the shots on what the other candidates talked about. Now, when the rubber hit the road, he splattered like a water balloon, but that was his own damn fault.

        So yeah, I think we need to talk about Trump and Carson, at least right now. They’ll eventually fade into irrelevance and become comic footnotes, as we all know.

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        • Oh, I didn’t mean that as a criticism, per se. Just because they won’t win doesn’t mean they don’t matter. Sanders will most assuredly not win the Democratic nomination, but his level of success will have an effect upon the rest of the race, policy after being elected, etc.

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