In 2008 Campaign, Money Isn't Everything

Mike Huckabee talks with John McCain. i i

hide captionFormer Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (left) and Sen. John McCain survived the early Republican contests with relatively little money.

Scott Olson/Getty Images
Mike Huckabee talks with John McCain.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (left) and Sen. John McCain survived the early Republican contests with relatively little money.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

In Depth

Read an overview of the major presidential candidates' money outlook, based on their most recent federal filings.

It's been said that money is as important as the message in political campaigns, but this year's Republican presidential race may give people second thoughts about that truism.

The last two men standing in the GOP contest are John McCain, who nearly ran out of money early in his campaign, and Mike Huckabee, who has relatively little cash.

"The candidates like Huckabee, who really had very little money, and John McCain, who had to borrow money to get through New Hampshire, really looked like they were going to be spent out of the race," says Tony Corrado, a professor of government at Colby College in Maine.

"But once the voters started to make their choices, [McCain and Huckabee] came roaring back, even though they were outspent, in some cases 10 or 15 to 1 in some of these states," Corrado tells Steve Inskeep.

That's not to say that money isn't important.

Because Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are raising so much money in their more competitive race, there will be more pressure for the Republicans to raise as much money as possible for McCain, the GOP front-runner, Corrado says.

Obama may have a fundraising edge over Clinton as the campaign goes on, Corrado says.

"Obama has developed a much broader fundraising base," he says. With more than 650,000 donors to his campaign, Obama has more people he can ask for individual contributions and more people that can still give him campaign gifts because they haven't given the maximum amount, Corrado adds.

As for Clinton, half of her donors gave the $2,300 maximum allowable in 2007.

"That's one of the reasons we have seen [Obama] out-raising her in the months of January and February," Corrado says.

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