The 14-candidate Republican presidential field is destined to shrink soon, as six Republican candidates spent more than they raised in the 3rd quarter of 2015. The half dozen candidates who had burn rates above 100 percent, included the four “children’s table” debaters, as well as Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.
The nearly invisible former New York Governor George Pataki had the worst burn rate at 226 percent, meaning for every dollar he raised he spent 2 dollars and 26 cents. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul weren’t far behind, with burn rates of 188 and 181 respectively. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum also had burn rates over 100 percent.
Those six Republican candidates are finding that they do not even have enough supporters to fund the basic operating costs of their campaigns. The cash starved candidates are struggling just to cover travel expenses, staff salaries and the costs of keeping campaign offices open.
For political observers trying to figure out which GOP candidate will be the next to drop out of the race, the six candidates who spent more than they raised provides a clue as to who are the most likely hopefuls to abandon hope and throw in the towel.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former Texas Governor Rick Perry have already ended their campaigns. Several other candidates may not be far behind in ending their 2016 presidential bids.
Even the more successful Republican fundraisers are dealing with a financial crunch. For example, Jeb Bush, whose campaign raised over 13 million dollars in the 3rd quarter, is scaling back staff salaries to manage his payroll. Bush out-raised every Republican but Ben Carson in the 3rd quarter, but his haul was precariously low for a campaign that had to pay out a 1.7 million dollar quarterly staff payroll.
The Republican field is so large that there are essentially too many mouths to feed for GOP contributors. Candidates at the top are left hungry for more, while candidates who are polling poorly are starving for infusions of cash. There simply aren’t enough contributions flowing in to feed the candidates at the “children’s table”, and even some of the marginal candidates at the grown-ups debate table like Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul are scrambling for crumbs.
While Republicans often portray themselves as stewards of fiscal responsibility, nearly half the GOP presidential campaigns are spending money they don’t have, to stay in a race they can’t win.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.