The small donor payoff
GOP Presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson raised more money than any other Republican candidate between July and October of this year. His 3Q fundraising hit $20 million; Jeb Bush skidded in at second place with a respectable $13.4 million, narrowly edging out Ted Cruz, who boasted a $12.2 million take.
The rest of the candidates came in below the $10 million mark, but still managed to pad their war chests:
Who does Carson thank for all these donations? The average American voter:
This tracks well with reports dating back to July, when the Carson campaign took in over $10 million during the Q1 fundraising period. They fielded over 200,000 donations, with an average gift of just $50. Carson was already offering a strong performance in the polls, and his take reflected that popularity.
Good, right? Here comes the bad: This year, Mr. Carson’s campaign has spent $20 million of the $31 million it raised:
In the three-month period that ended September 30, the campaign spent 53 cents for every dollar it raised. That number was down slightly from 64 cents for every dollar raised in the second quarter of the year.
Spending top dollar on fundraising has enabled the campaign to assemble a list of more than two million donors from whom it raises between $200,000 and $350,000 per day, a campaign spokesman said.
In all, Mr. Carson directed $11 million of the $14 million he spent in the third quarter to fundraising costs.
This is called “burn rate”—and Carson’s burn rate is an insane 65% for the year, with a slightly higher rate (over two thirds) in Q3. What does this mean?
Ben Carson is raising a ton & spending a ton & mostly spending it on raising it.
$14m spent/ $11m of it on fundraising @ajjaffe
— Ari Melber (@AriMelber) October 15, 2015
This means that his payments to fundraisers exceeded everything he paid to online vendors (think social media, email marketing, and online ads), direct mail efforts, travel, ad air time, telemarketing, his website, plus all of his staffers and consultants.
He still has a sizable war chest, but burn rate is something to be concerned about.
Fundraising is expensive, but given these numbers, I can’t help but wonder if Ben Carson’s campaign has turned into a huge payday for the people responsible for tonight’s impressive headlines.
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