Haley, Biden, Trump: 5 Takeaways From Campaign Finance Filings


President Biden has a notable but not overwhelming financial advantage over his top Republican rival, former President Donald J. Trump, and Nikki Haley — the last Republican candidate standing in the way of Mr. Trump’s nomination — appears to have the money to continue her insurgent battle against him.

Those were the key findings from a trove of campaign finance documents filed before a Feb. 1 deadline set by the Federal Election Commission for end-of-year fund-raising and spending reports.

The size of Mr. Biden’s war chest, and Ms. Haley’s substantial cash on hand, demonstrate in financial terms a vulnerability for Mr. Trump even as he tries to project an air of inevitability over his nomination as the Republican candidate.

The filings also provided a sort of autopsy report for Gov. Ron DeSantis’s failed presidential campaign — one of the most expensive since the introduction of the modern Republican primaries.

Here are some takeaways:

Mr. DeSantis’s failed presidential campaign cost more than $160 million. He finished in a distant second place behind Mr. Trump in the Iowa caucuses,and then dropped out of the race altogether shortly after.

The campaign bill is an enormous figure reflecting Mr. DeSantis’s stunning plummet in the race over the last year, after announcing his candidacy to much hype. A super PAC supporting Mr. DeSantis’s campaign, Never Back Down, had about $120 million in hand by the time he entered the race in May. By the end of the year, it had spent all of that money and then some.

Ms. Haley raised $24 million in the last three months of 2023, and entered this year with $14.6 million in her campaign account, signaling a financial operation robust enough to continue her battle against Mr. Trump in the Republican primaries — at least for now.

It’s a payoff for Ms. Haley’s campaign operation, which kept costs low ahead of the nominating contests. A super PAC backing Ms. Haley, SFA Fund Inc., spent much more aggressively, raising $68.9 million across the entire year and spending almost all of it, ending the year with about $3.5 million on hand.

What is less clear now is how well Ms. Haley is raising money in the aftermath of her two losses against Mr. Trump in Iowa and New Hampshire, which took place after the end-of-year spending deadline.

President Biden’s campaign had about $46 million in cash on hand at the end of 2023, compared with $33 million for Donald Trump’s campaign. It is a notable financial edge for Mr. Biden, but it is not as wide of a lead as expected by some for an incumbent facing Mr. Trump, who still has Ms. Haley as a rival in the primaries and whose super PACs are spending tens of millions of dollars on legal expenses that could be going toward his campaign.

On Wednesday night, Mr. Trump’s campaign reported that it had $33.1 million in cash on hand at the end of 2023, substantially more than Ms. Haley’s total as they continue to battle for the nomination. But Mr. Trump, who is facing four criminal cases, has significant legal bills. His PACs spent roughly $50 million on legal expenses last year.

Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who is putting off a decision to run for re-election this year as an independent, raised just $595,000 in the final three months of 2023. While she had a respectable amount of cash on hand, it was her lowest quarter of fund-raising for the year, and raises more questions about how viable her candidacy would be if she chose to run. Ms. Sinema ran as a Democrat in 2018, then left the Democratic Party in 2022.



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