Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy yell at each other during the Republican debate.

What Financial Records Tell Us About the 2024 GOP Field

Some people need to just drop out.

Politics is a money game. How we feel about that fact is another topic for another day! The fact remains, you need money to win and you need money to even be competitive in today’s political landscape. This is especially true for the presidential primary and general election. The amount of money needed to run ads, travel, host events, and hire staff, has become astronomical. The latest financial disclosures were recently due for presidential candidates and the numbers are telling.

Recommended Videos

A candidate who is really hurting for cash is former VP and enemy of the Trumpers, Mike Pence. His campaign raised $3.3 million in the third quarter. Financial campaigns are broken down into quarters and each one reveals a lot about the successes and failures of their candidate’s bid. As of September 30, Pence had $1.2 million in the bank. As someone who has worked on varying levels of campaigns, I know firsthand that that is not a lot of money. Even worse, a percentage of that cash can only be used on the off-chance that he wins the nomination and goes into the general election against President Joe Biden. Pence’s campaign also said that they are $620,000 in debt. And lastly, he gave $150,000 of his own money to his flailing campaign during the period from July through September. 

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who many still see as the biggest challenger to Donald Trump, raised a decent amount of money but is also burning through it. During the third quarter, his campaign raised a little over $11 million. Not bad, I guess. However, he has over $1 million in unpaid bills. He has cut a lot of staff and shifted much of the remaining ones to Iowa, a state he is clearly hoping to win. His cash problem is worrying some GOP donors, who have not necessarily chosen a favorite from this field so far. Two people who have more cash on hand than DeSantis are Tim Scott and Nikki Haley with $13.3 and $9.1 respectively. With Scott, $11.6 of his millions can be spent on the primary, and the rest, like with Pence, would go towards the unlikely event that he wins the nomination. DeSantis has about $5 million cash on hand. 

Trump’s number one nemesis, Chris Christie, is not doing so well. He raised $3.8 million in the third quarter, which was less than the totally unserious Vivek Ramaswamy, who raised $7.4 million. Gross. All of Christie’s funds can be used for the primary. Who is donating to Ramaswamy? He is a wealthy guy who doesn’t need it, right? Like I said though, money is important and is a way to see how people are feeling generally. So he has some support! Which highlights how broken our political system is. People are still donating to a guy who is clearly unfit. Speaking of unfit, Trump still dominates in terms of fundraising. His campaign aides say that he has $36 million cash on hand. With his campaign and his joint fundraising committee, he is reported to have raised over $45 million in the third quarter. This is expected but it is still disgusting to think people are still giving money to this fraud who is probably doing illegal schemes to pay for his, ironically, legal bills. 

Other candidates really aren’t even worth mentioning because they are way down in the polls and way down in fundraising numbers. It will be interesting to see if donors rally behind anyone in particular. I still think there are a lot of people out there, especially wealthy people, who do not want to donate to Trump. Having good fundraising numbers so far will help show them that they are somewhat viable. While there are a lot of ways to get free advertising nowadays, money still talks. The hurdles remain for these GOP candidates who say they want to take on Trump but still look like they are vying for VP honestly. We keep waiting, week after week, to see if anyone can close the gap in the polls and fundraising. It doesn’t look super likely right now, but crazier things have happened. 

President Biden still leads among all candidates, having raised more than $71 million in the third quarter for his campaign and the Democratic Party. I hope this continues!

(featured image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy