Money Talk: the cost of the campaign trail

The numbers of each candidate’s campaign

If there is one fact that holds true in each election, it’s that campaigns are expensive. A campaign requires constant fundraising to maintain its pace and candidates cannot continue without this funding.

Both candidates have raised more than $2 billion all together, leading up to Oct. 19, with Clinton raising almost twice as much as Trump. Not all donations or fundraisers are created equal but every cent spent can be cause for a decisive victory in a battleground state or the general election.

Napoleon once said, “an army marches on its stomach,” and the same can be said about a campaign’s infrastructure.

Clinton has raised $1.3 billion combined which leaves Trump behind at just $795 million, according to The Washington Post.

The Clinton and Trump campaigns have raised $556 million and $248.3 million respectively, while their fundraising committees have raised $544.4 million and $486.7 million. The difference in small donations is only 25.64 percent, $88 million and $68 million, respectively.

Candidates made even more money when it came to more intimate engagements.

Tickets to attend a smaller Clinton event would cost as much as $33,400 per person. Trump charges as much as $100,000 per couple, according to CNBC.

The reason that elections cost so much is because of the cost of reaching approximately 320 million people over 3.8 million square miles – it isn’t a small tab. Advertising in competitive media markets also makes that tab a bit heftier.

Elections became much more expensive when a Supreme Court decision in 2010 dissolved spending limits for corporations and workers’ unions when it came to independent political broadcasts, according to The Economist.

Above all, the biggest price tag for a presidential election is payroll.

In the time frame the Clinton campaign has been fundraising, they also spent 35 percent of funds raised on their payroll of 500 consultants and support staff, which is the largest in the election, according to The New York Times.

Trump spent 18 percent of his funds, $705,444, on payroll. He’s spent more on his own private aircraft at $723,426 and he also spent $678,000 on hats and T-shirts.

Clinton collectively spent $1 million on travel, from hotels to plane tickets.

Clinton’s spending gave her a significant lead in the polls, with money being funneled into offices across the country for support. Unfortunately, the unknown variables of FBI investigations, whatever news they might hold, have come to be a stick in the tire of the Clinton campaign as her lead essentially dissolved.

On Nov. 8 we’ll find out if Trump successfully hedged his bets on email investigations or if Clinton had properly invested in her election.

Kenneth Kashif Thomas is the senior features editor and can be reached at