Bush, Carson Lead GOP Presidential Fundraising; Clinton Paced by Sanders - NBC4 Washington
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Bush, Carson Lead GOP Presidential Fundraising; Clinton Paced by Sanders

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    Bush, Carson Lead GOP Presidential Fundraising; Clinton Paced by Sanders
    File - AP
    Republican presidential candidates, from left, Sen. Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Donald Trump, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush pose for a group picture during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif.

    Jeb Bush raised $13.4 million over the summer for his Republican presidential bid — more than almost any other primary competitor, but far less than political newcomer Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who collected about $20 million during the same time period.

    Meanwhile, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bernie Sanders, the two leading Democrats in the 2016 race, each raised more than any of the Republicans who have said what donors gave them between July 1 and Sept. 30.

    Billionaire businessman Donald Trump, who has not been engaged in traditional fundraising, managed to bring in nearly $4 million over the timeframe.

    Here's a look at what we know so far about the state of presidential campaign finance in the third quarter.

    CLINTON, SANDERS RAISE ABOUT THE SAME AMOUNT — IN DIFFERENT WAYS

    Clinton's campaign said it raised $28 million in the three months ending Sept. 30. That's less than what she raised in the early months of her campaign, but more than any previous non-incumbent Democratic presidential primary contestant in the third quarter of the year before Election Day.

    Most of the money came in through dozens of traditional fundraising events, where the price of entry was often the legal maximum donation of $2,700.

    Sanders brought in about $26 million, but did so largely through small contributions collected online. He continues to show off his fundraising prowess, harvesting about $2 million in new contributions in the hours that followed Tuesday night's Democratic debate.

    "We are doing it the old-fashioned way: 650,000 individual contributions," Sanders said in his closing statement of that appearance, adding: "We are averaging 30 bucks apiece. We would appreciate your help."

    CARSON THE EARLY LEADER IN GOP CONTEST

    Lots of Republican voters sent a message this summer in preference polls that they want an outsider as their nominee. That's reflected in how they're giving to the candidates, too.

    Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson appears likely to post the best haul of the dozen-plus candidates in the GOP field, with about $20 million. But his campaign also spent heavily, burning through $14 million over the same time period.

    Carson spent most of that money raising money, according to figures the campaign provided to The Associated Press. Still, Carson had about $11 million in available cash as of Sept. 30.

    One of Carson's closest fundraising competitors is Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, whose campaign raised $12.2 million in the third quarter and ended the month with $13.5 million in the bank. Although he has been a senator since 2012, he also is running as an outsider, with a focus on the many times he has broken with Senate Republican leadership over issues such as shutting down the government to defund implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

    Former technology executive Carly Fiorina, who has never held elected office, raised $6.8 million for her campaign — four times as much as she collected at the start of her campaign. Her boost came after strong debate performances that also led to a rise in some national preference polls.

    LOWER FIGURES FOR OTHERS IN GOP

    Others in the Republican race found the summer months a tough slog for fundraising. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul raised $2.5 million and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio about $6 million. Paul recently devoted time to a separate bid to keep his Senate seat, leading some to question if he's still in the White House race.

    "I wouldn't be doing this dumb-ass livestreaming if I weren't," Paul said in a recent Internet video. "So, yes, I still am running for president. So get over it."

    In a memo to supporters on Thursday, the Paul campaign continued to provide assurance that it is "here to stay." The candidate raised almost $1 million in the 12 days after the September debate, the memo says.

    Rubio's campaign argues that it can make its money go the distance because of its extreme frugality. The campaign told top donors that it began October with $11 million socked away. As evidence of its tight ship, Rubio's campaign manager Terry Sullivan has said he must personally approve all expenses over $500.

    But Rubio is also getting a boost from a nonprofit group that doesn't disclose its donors. While the campaign hasn't purchased any television commercials, the group Conservative Solutions Project has already spent millions of dollars on ads.

    HOTLY ANTICIPATED REPORTS

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Ohio Gov. John Kasich both entered the Republican entered the race later than the other candidates, meaning Thursday provides the first look at their fundraising.

    Ahead of Thursday's filing, Christie's spokeswoman said the campaign had raised $4.2 million in recent months and had $1.4 million cash on hand at the end of September. Although the haul puts him in the lower tier of Republican fundraisers, Christie played down the importance of money. "We're doing fine," Christie recently said during a swing through New Hampshire. "I'm proud of what we did in the third quarter fundraising, which is always a really difficult quarter given the summer and everything else."

    Kasich, who was the last major candidate to enter the race, raised about $4.4 million, according to his campaign.

    He's been spending at a slower clip than Christie as he's built his operation, however, leaving him with almost twice as much money as the two go head-to-head in the early-voting state of New Hampshire.

    The numbers are especially troubling for Louisana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who began October with just $261,000 left in the bank — an amount that will make it hard for him to sustain any kind of serious operation through the early-voting state of Iowa, on which he's staking his bid.

    Jindal's campaign sought to downplay the low filing, which does not include money raised by a Super PAC supporting his bid.

    "This is an election, not an auction," spokeswoman Shannon Dirmann said. "We are tied for 5th right now in Iowa and plan to win it on February 1st."

    Ahead of his fundraising filing, Bush's campaign manager Danny Diaz said the former Florida governor had collected $13.4 million in the latest fundraising quarter, and had about $10.3 million in available cash as of Sept. 30. Bush also said he plans to release a list of his top money-raisers on Thursday.

    Such disclosure isn't required by law, but many candidates, including Clinton, have done so in the name of transparency. Bush hasn't yet said precisely what information he'll be sharing.

    WHAT WE WON'T LEARN: THE BIGGEST DONORS

    Only the official campaigns face a Thursday fundraising reporting deadline. Their super PAC counterparts can wait until January to disclose their newest financial details and donor names.

    While contributors can give a maximum of $2,700 per election to campaigns, they face no such restrictions with super PACs. Those groups must be legally separate from the campaigns, but are often stacked with a candidate's most trusted aides.

    As of June 30, super PACs and other outside groups tailored to presidential candidates had raised more than three times as much as the candidates themselves.

    AP writer Jill Colvin contributed to this report.