7 Most Expensive US Presidential Campaigns
Elections are always costly, let alone elections that decide that leader of an entire country. The recently concluded 2020 US presidential elections are no different, with campaign costs between current president Donald Trump and former vice-president Joe Biden amounting to a total of $14 billion. To revisit some of the costliest campaigns in the country, here are the seven most expensive US presidential campaigns:
1. Mitt Romney (2012) - $450 Million
By the time Republicans chose Mitt Romney as the candidate for the party, presidential candidates were already spending more than $300 million for a single campaign that would run for at least a year. Romney would not only equal that amount, but would finish the campaign with a net spend of around $450 million. Unfortunately, all that money would amount to nothing as Romney lost in a tight race against Barack Obama.
2. Donald Trump (2020) - $575 Million
Business tycoon Donald Trump became the first US president to never hold a political or military office prior to becoming president. But despite that, the Donald Trump presidency pressed on even with Trump facing numerous scandals as well as being impeached by the House of Representatives. He signed numerous tax and security reforms while also establishing the Space Force which aims to protect US military assets in space. In a bid for a second term, Trump spent $575 million which is $253 million more than his first campaign in 2016. He would lose to Democratic candidate Joe Biden in a very close contest but is looking to take the results to the Supreme Court due to alleged voting fraud.
3. Barack Obama (2012) - $722 Million
Much like his 2008 campaign, President Obama relied on raising funds from private backers. Although he did manage to raise $722 million, additional funds poured in from the Democratic National Convention (DNC) and several Political Action Committees (PACs). Obama's massive spending was more than enough to edge out Romney, allowing to build on what he started in 2008 (e.g. economic, financial, and healthcare reforms). He also signed a deal with six countries to end Iran's nuclear weapons program.
4. Barack Obama (2008) - $730 Million
Barack Obama was a force in the 2008 elections. He would not only become the first black president in the country, but he would take the presidency in convincing fashion, obtaining 365 electoral votes which converted to 64 million popular votes. The campaign was also unique in the sense that Obama rejected public funding but still managed to raise more than $730 million in privately-donated money. The campaign ended with three million donors with an average donation amounting to $250 each.
5. Hillary Clinton (2016) - $768 Million
Former senator Hilary Clinton already made history as the first woman to be nominated as president by a major political party. However, her march to the White House in 2016 came to an abrupt halt as she lost to Donald Trump in electoral votes despite winning the popular vote tally. Added to her loss was the $768 million she spent during the campaign, one of the biggest ever spendings in US presidential campaign history.
6. Michael Bloomberg (2020) - $900 Million
Bloomberg CEO and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg may have only been in the 2020 presidential race for 100 days, but he nearly spent $1 billion trying to convince people to vote for him. Bloomberg's campaign failed tremendously as he never got support from a single state. Even when his campaign was over even before it took off, Bloomberg didn't have to worry about losing funds as he spent the entire $900 million from his own pocket.
7. Joe Biden (2020) - $937 Million
Former senator and VP Joe Biden has spent the biggest sum of any presidential candidate in US history. It may not really matter how much was spent, especially for Biden, as the US election results tilted to his favor, overcoming deficits in Pennsylvania and Georgia and winning both the electoral and popular votes. Much like Obama, the Joe Biden campaign relied mostly on individual and corporate donors for funds, including receiving large amounts from PACs such as Priorities USA Action and Future Forward USA. During the final eight days of the campaign, he spent $54 million in advertising costs alone.
Spending huge amounts of money is now a given fact during each election. Costs may even balloon to $2 billion once the country decides for the next president in 2024.