Burn notice: The candidates blowing through their money

October 16, 2015

Third quarter FEC filings are in, and in a crowded field of big spending White House hopefuls, two campaigns burned through markedly more cash than any of their other competitors.

Despite raking in some of the lowest fundraising sums to date, Republican candidate George Pataki and Democrat Lincoln Chafee have the highest burn rates—percentage of money spent versus money brought in– of the entire class of 2016 presidential contenders.

At a burn rate of 388 percent, former Rhode Island Governor Chafee’s campaign holds the distinction of burning through a bigger percentage of cash than almost every other campaign in the race. The only exception: Rick Perry’s now-defunct campaign, which burned only slightly more quickly at 392 percent.

Former New York Governor Pataki fared just marginally better, burning at a rate of 226 percent in the third quarter.

According to the filings, Pataki reported about $153,500 raised in the third quarter, and Chafee filed just over $15,450, within the same period.

George Pataki (R-NY) in Greenville, South Carolina May 9, 2015. REUTERS/CHRIS KEANE

The latest modest haul comes as another blow for Chafee, who earlier this week came under spotlight for his stumbling, uneasy showing in the first Democratic debate.

Jim Webb, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley and Lincoln Chafee place their hands over their hearts during the singing of the national anthem at the Democratc debate. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

For Pataki, who served three terms as governor of New York—a state that typically leans blue in both national and state-wide elections—the newest filing echoes the trend of a national electorate who has not warmed to the typically moderate Pataki.

According to Reuters/Ipsos polling, both candidates rank near the bottom of the pack for their respective parties. In a rolling survey through October 13, Pataki held just 0.1 percent of possible Republican support. Chafee scored slightly better with 1 percent of possible Democratic backing.

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