There are a few precincts still to be heard from, and a few holes in the data (e.g., Marco Rubio’s decision to channel a lot of his donations through a non-profit group that does not have to disclose donors or report anything until next year). But as Julie Bykowicz reports for AP, we’ve already seen more money donated to presidential candidates and their Super-PACs this cycle than was contributed during the entire 2000 primaries. A cool $337 million and still counting.
Almost half of the money disclosed so far will benefit just two of the expected 22 candidates — both of whom have former presidents in the immediate families: Hillary Rodham Clinton and Jeb Bush.
Clinton, the Democratic front-runner, has raised $45 million in checks of $2,700 or less for her campaign. Priorities USA Action, a super PAC that counts on seven-figure donors, raised an additional $15 million.
Bush’s money looks different. Before he officially declared his candidacy, the former Florida governor spent the first six months of the year raising huge sums of money for Right to Rise, a super PAC that’s boosting his bid to win the Republican nomination. That group says it has raised a record $103 million. Bush’s presidential campaign, which officially began on June 15, collected $11.5 million from contributors.
But there’s enough Super-PAC money spread around that some Republicans are worrying they will keep marginal candidates in the field and create general-election talking points for Democrats. I suspect “The King of Bain,” the anti-Romney video that Newt Gingrich’s Super-PAC produced and distributed with Sheldon Adelson’s money, is still casting a long shadow, particularly in a year when so many candidates are struggling for air.
In the BloggingheadsTV segment Paul Glastris and I did with the New York Times‘ Nick Confessore yesterday (which should go up here at PA in a bit), I asked Nick if candidates really think they won’t get blamed for nastiness put out there by their Super-PACs, and he answered affirmatively: it’s all just too confusing for voters. If that’s the CW, we’ll see some pretty wild negative attacks before too long.