Campaign Finance Part 2: Handicapping Actual Candidates by their Funding

Jan 9, 2024 | Macro Insights, No Bull Economics

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If ideas were sufficient to win elections, then why does campaign finance play such an important role? Does the candidate with the most money always win the election? In this post, we look at which presidential candidates are attracting the most financial support for their 2024 runs.


  • Candidates raise money directly, but this does not tell the entire story as their fundraising can be dwarfed by donations raised by their political action committees (PACs- the subject of the next post).
  • While we can see from the top table that Trump directly raised the most money so far (slightly ahead of Biden), this analysis is incomplete without considering the financial firepower of the super PACs tied to the candidates as outlined in the bottom table.
  • Taken together, we can see that DeSantis has raised $129MM so far compared to Trump’s $90MM net (when subtracting the $5MM Never Trump PAC). However, as many pundits point out, the continuous lawfare against Trump is providing him with nearly unlimited free press coverage that seems to be energizing his base (judging by the polls). It is hard to value this media coverage, but it is likely substantially higher than the DeSantis funding shortfall.    
Most Money Raised by Candidates Graph

Source: Raising: by the numbers | FEC

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