Elections are not based on which candidate receives or spends the most money. Campaigns are run, however, based on the amount of money available. In addition, the amount of money a candidate needs to spend depends on the type of election – including level of office sought, geographic reach of the district, free publicity received, and other candidates in the race.
Compare the top 3 candidates in the 2016 presidential election when Iowa Libertarians won political party status after Gary Johnson received 3.7% of the votes. Nationwide, Johnson’s campaign had receipts over $12 million, disbursements slightly higher than receipts and a $1.5 million debt at the end of the campaign. The Democrat had receipts of $585 million and disbursements of a bit less. The Republican, and winner of the election, had receipts of $350 million with more than $7 million left after the campaign.
For the 2020 election, Pres. Trump has raised the most money, over $165 million, and spent almost $90 million. Bernie Sanders leads the Democrats, with receipts of $74 million and disbursements of $46 million. In contrast, most Libertarians have not raised/spent the minimum of a few thousand dollars that triggers reporting to the Federal Election Commission. This does not mean Libertarians will not have viability in a general election. It simply reflects the cost of seeking a nomination state-by-state or the benefits of being an incumbent.
Jacob Hornberger (jacobforliberty.com) entered the race for the Libertarian nomination in September 2019. He has not yet filed a financial report with the FEC. He has stated he wants to win the North Carolina primary and in a big way. His plan is to bring in the Independent vote that in North Carolina can vote in primaries. Reaching those potential voters will take money. Will his fundraising reflect that?
Adam Kokesh (kokeshforpresident.com) filed his candidate form in 2018. The campaign reports receipts over $202,000. The latest filing shows disbursements mostly for finance fees to online payment services, e.g., for donations, and for vehicle repairs.
Ken Armstrong (armstrong2020.com) filed his candidate form in May 2019. He filed quarterly reports with the FEC in July and October 2019. He has receipts over $13,000 and disbursements of $10,600.
Kim Ruff (ruffphillips2020.com) filed her candidate form in March 2019. She filed an FEC report in April 2019 showing receipts of $5,885 and disbursements of $366
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