Hillary Clinton has already spent $19 million in her quest for the White House, according to reports filed with the FEC on Wednesday. Her spending tops the amounts raised by her two principal rivals, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.
Sanders raised $15 million according to the reports, which report activity for the first three months of the campaign. O’Malley, who has struggled to attract attention, has raised about $2 million.
Clinton’s spending is about 40 percent of the total amount she has raised so far. In the quarter, her campaign raised $47 million. This figure does not include contributions to outside groups or SuperPACs supporting her candidacy.
Her “burn rate” — the rate she is spending what she raises — is far higher this year than her previous campaign in 2008. In the first three months of that contest, where she faced a potentially, and ultimately overwhelming, competitive primary, she spent just 19 percent of her fundraising haul.
Hillary’s ramped up spending this time, however, doesn’t seem driven by concerns over a potential primary fight. Rather, she is spending big to create a national campaign infrastructure. Her campaign has hired some 350 full-time staff, placing at least a few paid operatives in every state.
Clinton has spent almost $400k to purchase voter data lists for the first four early voting states; Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. The overwhelming majority of her spending, however, is looking past the primary to the general election.
In 2008, Clinton’s early campaign made a strategic miscalculation by spending too little on the primary and largely wasting what she did spend. This year, she is spending far more money and, while it may not be wasted, is geared for the post-primary campaign.
Like the first few months of the 2008 campaign, Hillary is assuming the Democrat nomination. We will know soon whether that assumption finally proves correct this year.