Democratic Presidential Candidate Expenditures

Open Secrets has a new feature that breaks down how presidential candidates spent money during the first three months of 2007. Just click on any candidate, and on the left hand column you will see an "expenditure" link that offers a complete breakdown. For example, here is some interesting--and incomplete--info for the six Democratic candidates who spent more than a million dollars in the first quarter of 2007 (in thousands of dollars spent):.

Democratic Presidential Candidate Expenditures, 2007 Q1
CandidateSalaries / BenefitsSupplies + RentPollingFundraisingTravelCampaign EventsInternet Media

Here are some quick thoughts:
  • Obama spent the most in all of these categories, except for salaries / benefits, where Edwards leads, and polling, where Biden stunningly leads.

  • Obama's expenditures on Internet media are five times more than the rest of the field combined. Dodd is actually in second place in that category.

  • Edwards and Obama are spending a ton of money on travel. I'm not really sure what that means, except that they might be travelling with large groups.

  • Reports that Edwards did not spend any money on polling appear to be inaccurate. Richardson actually spent the least amount of money on polling in Q1, but that probably changed in Q2 after he started running ads in Iowa and New Hampshire. Focus groups for ads and post ad-buy polls cost money.

  • Clearly, the numerous, large campaign events for Clinton and Obama don't come cheap.

  • The staff and office supply gaps between Clinton, Obama / Edwards and Dodd / Biden / Richardson show a real problem for second tier candidates. They just don't have the same size of operation to manage a campaign.

  • What's up with Biden's massive fundraising and polling expenditures? It is funny how much money he has spent on those aspects of a campaign, with spending only $2,600 on actual campaign events. Not exactly a grassroots campaign.

  • Clinton appears to be getting the most bang for for fundrasing buck, but it is important to remember that is probably the result of years of work building up a huge donor network. Many other candidates have to start, relatively speaking, almost from scratch.
Fascinating stuff, and there is a lot more info where that came from.

Update: The money Edwards supposedly spent on polling doesn't actually seem to be polling. Check it out for yourself. I have no idea how those expenditures count as polls.

Tags: Democrats, Fundraising, Money, President 2008 (all tags)




Edwards was in 28 cities in 30 days in February -- That's a lot of travel!

Edwards' polling is one-sixth that of Obama and Hillary.

As far as the campaign events one could argue that Obama's crowd size may lead to more cost, but I have no idea why HIllary is spending so much more - unless it's "stagecraft" extras or other costs are hidden in it.

by TarHeel 2007-06-06 10:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Travel

Um, how did we get 30 days in February this year?

by Conquest 2007-06-06 10:44AM | 0 recs
the google

is failing me on tracking down which month but one of the early months of the year he made 20+ visits (fundraisers and campaign events) in one month...

by TarHeel 2007-06-06 10:48AM | 0 recs
Found it. rchives/2007/02/where_isnt_john.html

here's your travel money -chris

Where Isn't John Edwards?

This busy beaver of a presidential candidate has an extraorindarily busy February, according to a campaign e-mailed we were sent.

February 1-2, New York City
February 5, Bloomington, IL
February 6, Detroit, MI
February 7, Kansas City, MO
February 7, Oklahoma City, OK
February 8, Charleston, SC
February 9, Chapel Hill, NC
February 9, Mississippi
February 12, Miami, FL
February 13, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
February 14, Tulsa, OK
February 14-15, Los Angeles, CA
February 15, San Francisco, CA
February 16, Las Vegas, NV
February 20, Houston, TX
February 21, Dallas, TX
February 22, Knoxville, TN
February 22, Nashville, TN
February 23, Pittsburgh, PA
February 25, New York City
February 26, New Jersey
February 27, New York City

by TarHeel 2007-06-06 10:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Found it.

As it turns out, most of the travel numbers are for private jet charters -- which makes sense in Obama's and Clinton's cases, since they need to be in DC frequently for their day jobs, but makes a little less sense (fiscally, environmentally) for Edwards, who seems to rent Fred Baron's jet a lot.

by Adam B 2007-06-06 11:05AM | 0 recs
Time saving

private jets save time. My brother works for a company that travels a lot and they either hire a helicopter or private jets because it is more convienent and faster then dealing with major airlines. Also a lot more comfortable too.

by Chaoslillith 2007-06-06 11:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Time saving

Oh, they absolutely save time, and when you're going between places where there is no direct flight (Des Moines to Manchester, say?), they're essential for a candidate.

by Adam B 2007-06-06 11:32AM | 0 recs
Now you're being insane Adam

Edwards is purchasing Carbon offsets...

when's the last time you travelled to 22 cities in 27 Days on commercial airlines going through the al qaeda checks and not being able to carry on toothpaste??
.. I thought so...

by TarHeel 2007-06-06 11:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Now you're being insane Adam

I know he's said he would, but I can't find such purchases here.  

And my wife has done such tours as part of her job throughout the last seven years, all on commercial planes.  

by Adam B 2007-06-06 11:35AM | 0 recs
Re: Now you're being insane Adam

If it's so wasteful, maybe Obama and Clinton could resign their Senate seats (they both have Democratic Gov's) and take commercial jets too.

It's not as thought either is accomplishing anything slinking in and out of town for votes.

by MassEyesandEars 2007-06-06 11:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Now you're being insane Adam

I've criticized them for taking separate private jets when the expenses and impact could be shared.  But resigning their seats at this point is foolish, and you know it.

Your "slinking" comment is obnoxious.

by Adam B 2007-06-06 12:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Now you're being insane Adam

something to ask about, though it's possible it's being paid out his personal funds

by edgery 2007-06-07 12:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Presidential Candidate Expenditures

This is interesting.

What is worth remembering Chris, Clinton has over 2 million in "debt" which is largely owed to her pollsters penn and his team. The politico noted this in April.

So this means a) her bang for her buck isn't as good as it seems and b) she's polling more than you think.

by dpg220 2007-06-06 10:38AM | 0 recs
Penn's ususal salary

for this type of work is a million per year...

by TarHeel 2007-06-06 10:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Presidential Candidate Expenditures

That is factually incorrect.  From what I have seen, Penn is owed 277k, which is obviously not the same as claiming "over 2 Million in debt, which is largely owed to her pollster Penn and his team."

 Besides, the debt figure is 1.58 Million.  

by georgep 2007-06-06 04:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Presidential Candidate Expenditures

Interesting. Biden really does think it's 1997, doesn't he?

One nitpick, you should probably point out that these figures are for thousands of dollars spent. I was a little confused to learn that nobody payed more than $1500 of salaries in quarter one until I figured that out.

by Englishlefty 2007-06-06 10:42AM | 0 recs
Obama burning a lot of cash

Huge numbers for funraising, polling, travel, supples and rent.  It will be interesting to see his second Q numbers and see if he gets more in line with Hillary.  If not you have to wonder if they could have problems down the road.  

The Dean campaign and its sudden money woes come to mind from '04.  Everyone thought they were flush with cash after raising what was at the time a large sum only to find out after Iowa they were strapped.

by dpANDREWS 2007-06-06 10:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama burning a lot of cash

Obama's half a million on fundraising (compared to Clinton's $100k) might explain his larger number of small dollar donors. Although you'd think spending five times as much would net you more than one and a half times as many donors.

by souvarine 2007-06-06 11:06AM | 0 recs
except that Hillary started out

with a list of around 250K donors from Bill's days. From that starting point, she ended up with about 50K donors.

by desmoinesdem 2007-06-06 11:14AM | 0 recs
That may mean

... that she has a lot of untapped money hanging out there

by dpANDREWS 2007-06-06 11:30AM | 0 recs
Re: That may mean

On the other hand she appears to have more maxed out donors. Some signs go one way, some the other, and the second quarter numbers could easily benefit either or neither of them.

by Englishlefty 2007-06-06 03:10PM | 0 recs
Re: That may mean

Obama is going to have a money lead at the end of the second quarter...according to the people that track these kinda things at AU.

by gb1437a 2007-06-06 03:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Presidential Candidate Expenditures

Fascinating.  Clinton is paying much LESS on her staff than Obama and Edwards.  We are always told the opposite, but that was apparently just hubris from the Edwards' and Obama supporters.   And, Obama outspending everybody on polling and fundraising?  What is up with his huge travel expenditures?  Almost a Million for Obama, only $166,000 for Clinton?   Obama is burning through a lot of cash.  

by georgep 2007-06-06 11:11AM | 0 recs
I bet most of this is not scientific polling

We get a lot of calls that go roughly like this at our house:

Caller asks to speak with me or my husband, using our names.

Can I ask you a few questions?

Do you plan to participate in the Iowa caucuses next January?

Who do you plan to support at the caucus?

Do you have a second choice? If so, who is it?

What issue is most important to you?

Thank you, goodbye.

They are not gathering enough demographic information to make this a "real" poll. Also, they are not giving you a list of candidates or isses--just asking open-ended questions.

They are calling registered Ds to figure out where their supporters and leaners are, I assume so that they can follow up with phone calls from field organizers.

It's not push-polling or message-testing--they are not testing out lines that might make you change your mind.

I always ask for the name of the company doing the survey, and usually it's not a company I've heard of. I ask whether it's for a campaign, and one time someone said it was for Obama, but usually they just stick to the name of the company doing the survey.

Technically these expenses are probably filed under polling, but I think it's more organizational work.

by desmoinesdem 2007-06-06 11:20AM | 0 recs
Did you not read

that the most expensive pollster in the business (mark penn), is not collecting his salary yet but will make it up later?

by TarHeel 2007-06-06 11:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Did you not read

Yes, I read that.  But the portion of the debt to Penn is only 277k, not the claimed $2 Million.    So, my point is valid.

by georgep 2007-06-06 04:17PM | 0 recs
Only the best for Obama?

Maybe he only travels in big time style?

by dpANDREWS 2007-06-06 11:31AM | 0 recs
Thats because

she hasn't paid her staff completely yet.

Nice try though.

by okamichan13 2007-06-06 11:46AM | 0 recs
Been called 3 times by Obama so far.

by citizen53 2007-06-06 04:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Presidential Candidate Expenditures

Looking at the percentages of expenditure spent on different sorts of consultants gives an interesting picture of where the various candidates think their problems are. I'd arrange it in a table, but I have no idea how to do that, so here are the raw percentages:

Political consultants:
HC: 1.64%
BO: 0.82%
JE: 1.61%
BR: 2.80%
CD: 8.49%
JB: 0.48%

Media consultants:
HC: 4.57%
BO: 0.54%
JE: 1.09%
BR: 0.79%
CD: 0.13%
JB: 4.11%

Administrative consultants:
HC: 6.07%
BO: 1.90%
JE: 1.42%
BR: 3.40%
CD: 3.49%
JB: 2.00%

Fundraising consultants:
HC: 1.81%
BO: 4.68%
JE: 4.87%
BR: 1.97%
CD: 6.41%
JB: No percentage given, but $231500 is listed as going on this. By my count, that's around 20% of his expenditure.

Of course, the raw percentage isn't everything. For example, though Dodd spent the most on political consultants, Hillary actually ran him close in numerical terms, pending about 75% of what he did.

Nevertheless, it looks to me like Dodd's intending to run a grassroots campaign, not going for media (probably a smart move, as getting coverage with this field would be hard.) I guess there's a link between the political consulting fees and his legislative work on Iraq. Biden's spending vast sums trying to work out how to make people want to give him money. Hillary's focusing on media and infrastructure. Obama and Edwards seem to be spending less on consultants than Clinton (by my back-of-a-notepad estimate, Edwards is spending a little under $300k, Clinton a tad over $700k,) most of which is spent on fundraising consultants. Edwards has the lowest percentage spent on administrative consultants of any serious candidate, although in real terms that's still more money than Dodd, Biden or Richardson spent.

by Englishlefty 2007-06-06 11:13AM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Presidential Candidate Expenditures

I'm wondering what Administrative consultants actually do.

But it shows the focus points of each campaign pretty nicely.

by Ernst 2007-06-06 11:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Presidential Candidate Expenditures

Could the high amount of salary/benefits for Edwards, compared to Obama & Hillary, be due to not occupying a Senate office & thus not having a retinue of staff paid for by the govt? Anyone?

by carter1 2007-06-06 11:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Presidential Candidate Expenditures

Their senate staff can't be used for campaign work, but I figure they could get around it with certain things. For instance, if they want briefings and research done on policy issues like Veterans Affairs, Health Care, Energy, etc. They could use their senate staffers for all of that, whereas Edwards would have to hire staff for that.

by Quinton 2007-06-06 01:28PM | 0 recs
Remember the Obama Fax?

After the South Carolina debate?

Senate ethics rules allow senators with active campaigns to "split" the work time and salary of official schedulers such as Obama's Molly Buford. According to Obama's campaign spokesman, Robert Gibbs, she in fact is paid by both entities. e/newsweek/

by citizen53 2007-06-06 04:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Presidential Candidate Expenditures

I thought that you're not allowed to use your senate staff for presidental races. But I could be wrong.

by Ernst 2007-06-06 11:57AM | 0 recs
Staffing and Internet Expenditures

Obama and Edwards might have higher staffing expenditures, because more of Clinton's day to day work is being carried out by consultants.

That might also explain why Edwards doesn't have much internet expenditures.  Most of the work may have been done in-house.

by KickinIt 2007-06-06 11:58AM | 0 recs
I trust Hillary

Looks like Hillary really puts money where her mouth is. She has amassed lots fo money, but is still extremely prudent.

Obama and Edwards are burning cash crazy as there's no tomorrow.

by bryandem 2007-06-06 12:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Presidential Candidate Expenditures

Very interesting.

by Korha 2007-06-06 01:02PM | 0 recs
Donor demographics very interesting

Among the choices in this category is "donations at the $4,600 level."

Hillary leads at something more than 45%
(expected, of course)
Dodd is next at 35%
Biden is at 25%
Obama is at 10%

Switching to "donations less than $200," Biden and Dodd are in negative territory!

by Books Alive 2007-06-06 01:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Presidential Candidate Expenditures

If you are taking this at face value to say, "Obama's expenditures on Internet media are five times more than the rest of the field combined," I can tell you as a fact you're wrong, and it just makes the whole chart bogus.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-06-06 02:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Presidential Candidate Expenditures

I'd like to know what the corporate contributions to each candidate is. It appears they are furled into the individual contributions.

by Didi 2007-06-06 03:52PM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Presidential Candidate Expenditures
Thats because they are individual contributions.
Corporations cannot donate to candidates.
When you do make a donation you have to list your employer, thats why they seem to show up as corporate donations when they are aggregated.
by parahammer 2007-06-06 04:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Presidential Candidate Expenditures

The polling expenditures are primarily payments to State Democratic Parties for their voter lists.  It's pretty amazing how much they charge - $65,000 for New Hampshire, $50,000 for Iowa.  This early Primary business is exactly that, business. No wonder they don't want other states honing in.

by dougdilg 2007-06-06 06:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Presidential Candidate Expenditures

the state parties are sharks.  and the costs of these lists is a huge impediment to any kind of grassroots/netroots candidates in all the states.  the lists should be provided for nothing after the campaign pays for the printing, ink, and labor to produde them.

by jgarcia 2007-06-06 08:53PM | 0 recs
Difference between Dems & Repubs?

This may be the dirty little secret why we don't get campaign finance reform.  But also there appears to be a difference between Democrats and Republicans.  All the top tier Democrats, the ones who are spending money, have paid State Parties for their lists. Comparing the top candidates in both parties, more Democrats purchase these lists and they pay more for them.  Only 2 Republicans bought a list, McCain and one other, and in both instance they had only purchased Iowa for $30,000.  The Iowa Democrat list costs $50,000.  Obama has spent $145,000 on Party lists: $65,000 for New Hampshire, $65,000 for South Carolina, and $15,000 for Nevada.

by dougdilg 2007-06-07 07:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Difference between Dems & Repubs?

these fucking state "Democratic" parties ought to be fucking ashamed of themselves.

and you may be on to something.  the dirty little secret is right-on.  Great point!

by jgarcia 2007-06-07 08:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Presidential Candidate Expenditures

Scrolling down at Open Secrets to the Republicans, you find a chilling fact: Romney has spent as much as Clinton and Obama combined. As a Massachusetts resident who has seen this happen before, I need to warn everybody that it really is possible for Romney to spend so much money that the voters fall for him without really knowing anything about him (is there really anything there???) until after the election. Buying the early primaries could catapult Romney so far ahead of the pack as to be untouchable.

by lenstewart 2007-06-07 01:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Presidential Candidate Expenditures

I wouldn't put too much stock in the categorization of Internet expenditures in the analysis, or draw any conclusions from them about Obama or anyone else's focus on the internet.  PoliticalMoneyLine had an alternative analysis, for example, here is Edwards page showing $76,679 vs this analysis' $0. n/pml1_sql_efview.exe?DoFn=C004312052008 &server=PML2

If you know who you are looking for (i.e. who works with the campaign), you can click through to View by Payee (under Disbursements) and find how much they were paid.  There are the same kind of errors of categorization for the other Presidentials.  These large categorization projects are hard tho, so hats off to Open Secrets for trying.

by StuT 2007-06-08 09:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Presidential Candidate Expenditures

Thanks for sharing this info with us, it was really interesting to check it out. Fascinating how much it can vary from one candidate to another.

Jennifer, Web Developer currently working on the Hypnotherapy Online Pharmacies project.

by Jennifer D 2008-02-25 10:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Presidential Candidate Expenditures

It was interesting to read this for sure. I was a bit surprised that Obama had spent more money than Hillary so far.

Laney, IT Freelancer working on the Livitra/Vardanafil

by Laney 2008-02-25 11:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Presidential Candidate Expenditures

How To Lose 4 Pounds

by abdullah 2008-03-04 05:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Presidential Candidate Expenditures


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