Presidential campaigns and Super PACs (political action committees) are making the 2016 election season one of the most expensive contests of all time.


Based on advertising-tracking data from SMG Delta, via NBC News, the Bernie Sanders' campaign has outspent follow Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Martin O'Malley. Sanders, who only utilizes campaign donations and opposes Super PACs supporting the independent Vermont senator's presidential bid, spent $12.8 million during his campaign so far. In comparison, Clinton, who has utilized $200,000 from the Priorities USA Super PAC, has spent a total of $11.6 million, slightly less than Sanders.

Former Maryland Gov. O'Malley's presidential campaign has spent the least, when comparing both major political parties. Only utilizing Super PAC funds, SMG Delta said O'Malley's campaign has spent $219,000.


Among the Republican presidential field, one GOP candidate has easily outspent all three remaining major Democratic candidates. Since the launch of his campaign, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has spent $58.8 million. A large portion of Bush's campaign spending, $55.9 million, came from his Right to Rise Super PAC, while his main campaign has spent $2.9 million.

The Republican to spend next to most in the presidential campaign is a fellow Floridian politician: Sen. Marco Rubio. The Latino, son of Cuban immigrants, has accumulated $32.6 million, which includes $11.6 million from the campaign, $11.2 million from Super PAC donations and $9.9 million from 501c4 groups.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ranked third in spending in the GOP field with $11.4 million, mainly from Super PAC funds ($10.4 million), with only $480,000 directly spent by his campaign. Narrowly behind Christie is Ohio Gov. John Kasich, spending $4.4 million from the campaign and $200,000 from Super PACs.

The second Latino in the GOP race, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, has spent $1.9 million directly from his campaign, while outside groups helped bring the total expenditure to $4.2 million.

Republican front-runner Donald Trump, who, similar to Sanders is not accepting Super PAC funds, has said he's self-funding the campaign. Based on data, Trump has spent $4 million.

Meanwhile, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former HP CEO Carly Fiorina have spent $4.6 million and $1 million, respectively. Fiorina's spending has come entirely from Super PAC funds.

The campaign spending will likely increase as candidates from both parties near the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary on Feb. 1 and Feb. 9, respectively.


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