The Lid: What History Tells Us About Third Quarter Fundraising Totals


US Democratic Presidential candidate, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean holds up a hardhat during an event at the Mayflower Hotel 12 November 2003 in Washington, DC. Dean picked up two major union endorsements. AFP PHOTO/Stephen JAFFE STEPHEN JAFFE / AFP/GETTY IMAGES

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Don’t get us wrong: No political candidate (heck, almost no human) is going to complain about having a LOT of money in the bank. But, as we begin the process of figuring out just how much cash everyone hauled in between July and September, here’s your quarterly #realtalk about what a big fundraising quarter does and doesn’t mean. An impressive number means 1) Security that the campaign can go on and weather bumps in the road 2) A solid base of support from people who are willing to part with their cash for you and 3) A reasonable measurement of your supporters’ faith that you have the message and organization to run and win a presidential campaign.

Here’s what a big fundraising quarter at this stage of the political cycle DOESN’T mean: 1) That those donors will be loyal to you if you falter in the future, and 2) that you’ll win your party’s nomination. In fact, we went back through the last three presidential cycles’ worth of Q3 reports and noticed that each one’s big winner (Rick Perry in 2011, Hillary Clinton in 2007, Mitt Romney in 2007 and Howard Dean in 2003) didn’t win their party’s nomination.


  • We looked back at third quarter fundraising totals from this time in the last three presidential cycles.
  • Donald Trump now says that Syrian refugees to the United States should be sent back. But that hasn’t always been his position. NBC’s Mark Murray has the details.
  • House Oversight Committee chair Jason Chaffetz said that Kevin McCarthy “should apologize” for his comments linking the Benghazi panel to Hillary Clinton’s sliding poll numbers.
  • FBI director James Comey told reporters on Thursday that he is "personally following closely" an investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private email server.
  • Both conservative and liberal criminal justice reform advocates are cautiously praising a bipartisan group of senators Thursday for legislation aimed at reforming the country's bloated prison system.


Per the AP:The top Google searches of the 2016 candidates include questions about Hillary Clinton's age, Jeb Bush's height, Chris Christie's weight, Donald Trump's net worth, Carly Fiorina's marital status and Bobby Jindal's birthplace.

CLINTON: She’ll appear on “Saturday Night Live” this weekend, the New York Times reports.

And she continues to lead the Democratic field, though Sanders and a potential Biden bid have gained support in a new USA TODAY/Suffolk poll.

KASICH: Researchers from groups supporting rival campaigns are digging into a little-known collection of Kasich records held in a public library in Westerville, Ohio. One interesting find is a 1994 letter from President Bill Clinton thanking the then Congressman for voting to ban assault weapons.

TRUMP: He answered 10 questions from CNBC’s John Harwood and said America will have a Superman as president if they elect Trump.

He might not make the ballot in Illinois.


“Did Bill tell you that on the receiving line of his second speech yesterday, he had the weirdest exchange ever when a woman loudly announced that her father ‘circumcised Bin Laden!’”

  • Hillary Clinton email to a friend in 2011. The email was part of the latest release of emails from her personal server.


Hillary Clinton heads to Bush/Rubio country, with a stop in South Florida.

Bill Clinton attends a Jefferson Jackson Day Dinner in Charleston, WV.

Ben Carson and Marco Rubio campaign in Iowa, and Jeb Bush delivers a speech in South Carolina.