WASHINGTON — Republican Donald Trump raised half of what Democrat Hillary Clinton did and still barreled past her to win Tuesday’s presidential election.
California billionaire Tom Steyer, who directed more than $60 million of his hedge-fund fortune to help persuade voters to turn out for Democrats, saw Republicans sweep to control of the White House and both chambers of Congress.
The 2016 elections became the latest in a string of volatile federal elections to challenge long-standing notions about the role of money in politics. The 2010 midterm congressional races, for instance, saw upstart Tea Party candidates topple well-funded incumbents around the country as voters grappled with a tough economy and concerns about the Affordable Care Act.
Money can help in a competitive race, but “it can’t make up for a sea change in the views of the electorate,” said Fred Malek, a veteran Republican fundraiser who is finance chairman of the Republican Governors Association.
But the 2016 president contest marks the first time since the 1996 showdown between Bob Dole and Bill Clinton showdown in which the president-elect has raised less money than his rival, according to a review by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.
From the start, Trump took an unorthodox approach to fundraising.
The real-estate magnate did not start raising money in earnest until late May, and he pumped about $66 million of his own cash into the contest. When several of his GOP rivals flew to a Southern California resort last year to court conservative billionaire Charles Koch and his network of super-rich donors, Trump taunted them on Twitter as “puppets” there to “beg for money.” (USA TODAY).