Spending doubled as obama led first billion-dollar race in 2008
Presidential candidates spent $1.7 billion in the 2008 U.S. election campaign, more than double the amount four years ago, Federal Election Commission filings show, Bloomberg reported.
President-elect Barack Obama, the first major-party nominee to reject federal funding for the general election, spent $740.6 million. That eclipsed the combined $646.7 million that Republican President George W. Bush and Democratic nominee John Kerry spent four years earlier.
The FEC filings, covering the campaigns through the end of November, marked the first time that total spending by all presidential candidates surpassed $1 billion.
"A billion dollars may not go far to bail out Wall Street, but it's still an enormous sum for a presidential race," said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based research group.
By contrast, all candidates spent a total of $820.3 million in 2004 and $500.9 million in 2000.
Obama's fundraising was a key to his emergence from the pack in the early primaries. He raised $24.8 million during the first three months of 2007, leading the field of Democratic hopefuls including New York Senator Hillary Clinton, who took in $19.1 million.
"His early fundraising, particularly his ability to match Senator Clinton, immediately separated him off into the top tier," said Anthony Corrado, a professor of government at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.