The Wealth Behind The US Presidential Race
Wealth-X profiles the front-runner presidential candidates, as well as the big donors contributing to the race.
In the highly anticipated Iowa caucus, Hillary Clinton barely inched past Bernie Sanders, beating him 49.8 percent to 49.6 percent, with all precincts reporting — a razor-thin margin of 0.2 percent. Clinton’s net worth was US$25 million as of April 2015, compared to Sanders’ net worth of US$500,000 as of June 2015.
The Republican candidates emerged with a clear winner in Iowa — Ted Cruz, who won 27.6 percent of the vote. Donald Trump came in second with 24.3 percent, while Marco Rubio received 23.1 percent. Ben Carson took a relatively distant fourth place, with 9.3 percent.
Cruz has an estimated net worth of US$3.2 million as of June 2015, and Rubio has a net worth of US$1 million as of June 2015. Meanwhile, Trump has a net worth of US$4.4 billion as of November 2015, placing him far above the other presidential candidates in terms of wealth.
Billionaires are playing a major role in funding the presidential race, largely through super PACs supporting individual candidates. Because contributors to campaign committees are subject to spending limits, mega-donors increasingly employ PACs to give millions. Eighty percent of all presidential super PAC funds last year came from donors giving in at least the six-figure range, according to Federal Election Commission reports. Overall super PAC fundraising accounts for 43 percent of presidential fundraising, The Huffington Post reported.
The political network led by Charles and David Koch — the fifth and sixth wealthiest people in the world — allegedly plans to spend up to US$900 million on the 2016 election, the New York Times reported last year.
Rubio’s third-place finish in Iowa has positioned him as a possible front-runner among Wall Street titans; he has already received backing from billionaire hedge fund managers Paul Singer of Elliott Management and Ken Griffin of Citadel — each gave US$2.5 million to the Conservative Solutions PAC, which supports Rubio, according to recently released Federal Election Commission data. The securities and investment industry was the top-contributing sector to pro-Rubio groups in 2015, with almost US$10 million in donations, CNBC reported.
On the Democrat side, billionaire investor George Soros donated US$6 million to Priorities USA Action, a pro-Clinton super PAC. Media mogul Haim Saban and his wife Cheryl have contributed millions to the same PAC.