To date the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) has registered direct candidate contributions in excess of 430 million USD for the US Presidential election taking place on 8 November 2016 – an opinion piece by Dr. Scott Loren.
29 February 2016. For the upcoming US General Federal Election, the FEC has received more than fifteen thousand official statements of candidacy and registered direct candidate contributions in excess of 430 million USD. Since the start of February each party recognized six Republicans (and falling), two Democrats and two third party candidates, while campaign operating expenditures have passed the 300 million mark. In these early phases, the speed with which candidate popularity can change is only matched by the number of campaign dollars changing hands.
Of course, neither fickleness in opinion nor fluidity of monies are particular to the 2016 race. By September 2012, remaining presidential hopefuls incumbent Obama and Romney had raised and spent campaign monies in the range of 1000 million USD each. If elements of surprise and big money are the name of the game in presidential elections, two things set current campaigning apart from previous races: the massive influx of loosely regulated funds through Super PACs, and the apparent lack of correlation between campaign financing and candidate popularity.