US presidential candidates filed their quarterly reports on July 15 with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the watchdog that oversees campaign funding efforts for the race to 2016.
The fundraising reports cover April 1 to June 30, a period during which several new candidates announced their intention to run, such as Jeb Bush and Donald Trump.
In addition to fundraising, candidates also receive money from political action committees (super PACs) which may not make contributions to candidate campaigns or parties, but can raise unlimited amounts of money and spend independently of the campaigns.
While super PACs are banned from coordinating directly with candidates or political parties, their managers can communicate with the candidates through the media.
Super PACS for the 2016 presidential candidates are scheduled to share their fundraising details with the FEC at the end of July. The July 15 FEC filings do not include super PAC figures.
Hillary Clinton’s campaign raised the most money - $47.5 million. Her campaign was followed by that of Bernie Sanders, her biggest rival for the Democratic nomination, who raised $15.2 million.
The two Democrats were followed by Republicans Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush who raised $14.3 million and $11.4 million respectively.
Senator Cruz (R-Tex.) dismissed polls showing he was trailing behind most Republican candidates and emphasised the amount his campaign raised.
“Out of 16 candidates in the Republican primary, do you know who raised the most of all 16?” Cruz told Fox News. “We did.”
Jeb Bush, former Florida governor and the latest presidential candidate from the Bush family (his father George H.W. Bush and brother George W. Bush both served as US presidents), also put a positive spin on his campaign finance report.
“In 16 days we raised eleven million bucks,” Bush told reporters in San Francisco on Thursday. “I’m proud of that. We’ll have ample time to broaden that out, and that’s the intention.”
He was referring to the low percentage (11.4 percent) of small donors who contributed to his campaign. Gifts from small donors are often seen as an indication of grassroots support for a candidate and are also promising because donors may further contribute towards their $5,400 legal limit in months leading up to the elections.
Sen.Bernie Sanders (D-Ver.), on the other hand, received most of his campaign funding from small donations. A total of $10.5 million came from donations of $200 or less (80.7 percent of the total he raised). Sanders appears to be the strongest Democratic opponent to Clinton in the primaries.
According to the FEC data reported in the New York Times, only 19 percent of Clinton’s total campaign funding came from small contributors. However the Clinton campaign says that if the data took account of donations of $250 or less - rather than $200 or less - 94 percent of the Clinton campaign donations would be from grassroots supporters.
Clinton’s campaign raised the most amount of money from among all candidates, Democrat or Republican, with about 60 percent of donors being women, The Guardian reported.
Clinton told reporters that her $47 million in campaign contributions will be “ammunition to fight back [Republicans]” on Thursday.
A Republican candidate who did well is retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who collected $10.6 million for his campaign, ahead of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ken.). Carson was strongly backed by small donors (68 percent).