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Don't Chase the Money Game in 2024

As elections increasingly take on a life of their own, we are constantly adjusting (or even eliminating) key indicators that can be help inform who will win and who will lose in November. Not long ago, many people began ignoring early polls, for example, knowing that much could change as election day nears. I think it is also time we begin to re-think how much we equate fundraising with winning – at least at the presidential election level. 

In a House or Senate campaign, name recognition is key and fundraising is vital to getting air time.  Presidential candidates organically get a lot of air time, and name recognition is much less of an issue – especially when a former president is running against the incumbent president. Looking back at 2016 serves as a good reminder of why fundraising is not the best metric for success.  President Trump raised about half what Secretary Clinton raised, with similar disparities in how they spent money on staff and advertising. Even in critical states that Trump won, Clinton’s advertising spend was significantly higher. According to analysis done by NBC, President Trump spent “$859,538 spent per electoral vote, versus about $1.97 million spent per Clinton electoral vote.” 

As the race currently stands, President Biden has a significant fundraising advantage. While having resources never hurts, it just does not translate to a win. It may help inform voter intensity (although it didn’t in 2016), but it is no longer a highly accurate metric for success.

President Biden (D)

Former President Trump (R)

Total Raised



Total Spent



Cash on Hand




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