Perhaps defying the expectations of most, former Vice President Joe Biden still clings to the lead in the Democratic Party primary contest, but can he hang on in early voting states and through Super Tuesday on March 3? South Carolina is still an easy win for Biden, though he has slipped a little even there, but Iowa and New Hampshire are up for grabs. Some are even saying Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is now the de facto frontrunner. This has become an incredibly difficult primary race to predict, but money talks, so how much campaign spending power do the top candidates have?
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) has become the latest casualty of the campaign funding drought that inevitably claims candidates who fail to gain enough traction to convince donors that they can actually win. Candidates in presidential primary races share a lot of donors, of course, so who benefits, financially, from the New Jersey senator’s withdrawal?
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Booker’s exit could boost Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Biden, whose donors previously also gave significant amounts to Booker’s campaign. Those who contributed to the senator’s campaign donated additional amounts to Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) – who is also out – Warren, and Buttigieg, in that order. The rest of the field received lesser amounts from Booker’s donors.
Julián Castro’s exit may also benefit Warren, who received his endorsement. Warren’s campaign may be imploding, though, due mostly to a string of questionable claims – the latest of which is that Sanders apparently once told her a woman could not win the 2020 presidential race.
Warren’s campaign committee has around $60 million, but she may have already peaked, in terms of fundraising. Sanders has close to $74 million and shows little sign of slowing down. Buttigieg has around $50 million. Biden’s campaign, meanwhile, is sitting on a paltry $36 million, but he is still at the top of most polls, or at least in the top three.
The two wild cards, of course, are billionaires Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg. While Steyer polled well enough to qualify for the latest primary debate, it seems unlikely that he will win the nomination, and, when he drops out, where will he put his money? Similarly, Bloomberg has no real chance of becoming the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, but his money could make – or break – another candidate.
While campaign cash does not necessarily dictate success at the polls, there is another way that dollars predict the future. “As with most things,” writes Liberty Nation’s Mark Angelides, “if you follow the money, you can’t go too far wrong.” In this case, Angelides is referring to where the gamblers are putting their money. The latest edition of his Political Horse Race column has Biden and Sanders leading in the betting odds, with Warren and Bloomberg in second and third places, respectively.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is sitting on a massive $165 million war chest. What does that count for, though? In 2016, Hillary Clinton massively outspent him, to no avail. Then again, Trump has another very advantageous financial situation leaning in his favor: That would be the U.S. economy.
Read more from Graham J Noble.