The Money Race: How The Candidates Stack Up

Jul 20, 2011
Originally published on August 24, 2011 11:50 am

At first glance, the presidential candidates' quarterly financial reports reveal three winners.

President Obama's fundraising operation outperformed all of the Republican campaigns combined. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney raised four times as much as the next closest Republican, Rep. Ron Paul. And Rep. Michele Bachmann, despite not announcing officially until mid-June, swept in enough money to startle rivals who had been in the race much longer.

But look deeper, and the picture gets more complicated, especially among the Republicans.

Romney has more money, yes, but at a price. An analysis by the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute shows that 74 percent of his money came from donors who "maxed out" by giving $2,500, the legal limit. In other words, they can't give any more. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is in much the same fix, with 62 percent from maxed-out contributors. Both candidates face questions of how to rebuild the donor bases they've burned through so quickly.

Meanwhile, Bachmann and Paul have tapped their long-standing grass-roots networks, with at least half of their money coming from donors of $200 or less. Those people can expect to hear back from their candidates again, and again.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit