California billionaire Tom Steyer spent $47 million during the first three months of his presidential bid — a jaw-dropping sum that places him on track to join the biggest self-funding political candidates in American history.
So far, Steyer has remained mired in the low single digits in the polls in his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. The candidate who has topped most of these polls, former Vice President Joe Biden, finds himself in a precarious financial position— he spent more money than he raised in recent months, and has significantly less in the bank than his top rivals, according to campaign finance disclosure forms released late Tuesday….
Presidential candidates Ross Perot in 1992 and Steve Forbes in 2000 spent the equivalent of a little over $110 million in today’s dollars, modern-day records Steyer could easily break if he keeps spending at the same pace, said Douglas Weber, a senior researcher with the Center for Responsive Politics. Steyer has said, however, he would spend $100 million of his own money on his race.
Perot’s and Forbes’ bids were unsuccessful.
“Typically self-funding doesn’t lead to success, in part because candidates’ fundraising helps candidates become better at connecting with voters,” said Rick Hasen, a campaign-finance law professor at UC Irvine. He added that Steyer’s “$47 million hasn’t bought him very much. He could pay off the fines of all the ex-felons in Florida to make sure they are re-enfranchised for the next election and probably have a lot more influence on the next election.”