Speed Reads

Money and politics

Clinton and Sanders seriously out-fundraised GOP candidates, minus super PACs

Thursday night was the deadline for 2016 presidential candidates to file their Federal Election Commission financial reports for the last quarter, and the big takeaway is that the two leading Democrats are crushing the Republican field in direct campaign contributions. The six Democrats who filed raised a combined $123.2 million from July 1 through Sept. 30, while the 15 Republican candidates raised a combined $143.5 million. Amid overall high spending, the cash-on-hand numbers are even more telling: Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) start the fall with $60.1 million in their coffers, only slightly less than the $61.2 million for all 15 Republicans. Here's the total hauls for each major candidate:

Hillary Clinton: $29.5 million
Bernie Sanders: $26.2 million
Ben Carson: $20.8 million
Jeb Bush: $13.4 million
Ted Cruz: $12.2 million
Carly Fiorina: $6.8 million
Marco Rubio: $5.7 million
John Kasich: $4.4 million
Chris Christie: $4.2 million
Donald Trump: $3.9 million
Rand Paul: $2.5 million

Clinton has the most cash on hand, $33 million, followed by Sanders, with $27.1 million. Cruz has the biggest war chest of any Republican, at $13.5 million. When you bring in money raised by allied super PACs, it's Republicans who take the edge: Bush's super PACs had raised $103 million by the end of June, for example, while Sanders has refused to set one up. But relying on super PACs was not a winning strategy for Rick Perry and Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.), the two candidates who have officially left the race.

"You could have this big super PAC, but if you have limited momentum and limited money to keep the campaign going, it's like the guy at the top of Mount Everest with two broken legs and an extra oxygen tank," GOP strategist Matthew Dowd tells The Washington Post. "You're living longer, but you're not going anywhere." Small donors — generally defined as giving less than $200 — have a stake in the candidate and are more likely to give again or volunteer; Sanders reports having 650,000 individual donors, Clinton about 400,000, and Carson has 402,000. Jeb Bush raised $877,000 from contributions of $200 or less.