Campaigning for US president can be a very expensive proposition. Running a campaign to win a presidential primary can range in cost from $50 million US Dollars (USD) to over $100 million USD. By itself, this cost is already enormous, but there’s even more that must be spent to run for president. Once the primaries are over and the nominees begin their campaigns to win the general election, an additional $75 million USD is typically spent.
Presidential hopefuls actually start raising money about a year before the primary election. Fundraising is considered a very important part of gaining the notice necessary to be successful as a presidential nominee. In many cases, the candidate who raises the most money before the primary election stands the best chance of being chosen to run by his or her party. Candidates needn’t raise all of their own money to run in the primary election, however. If a candidate agrees to limit his campaign spending to a certain amount and spread it out geographically, he or she can receive matching campaign funds from the federal government.
In some elections, candidates have decided to raise all their own money to run for president. When a candidate decides to forgo federal matching funds and spend only his own money, he is not required to limit spending or spread funds out geographically. In fact, President George W. Bush opted to raise his own money in the 2000 election and secured about $100 million USD. This amount was actually twice the sum candidates were restricted to if they opted for federal fund matching in that election.
After the presidential nominees have been selected, the general election campaign starts and is financed through public funding. The cost to run for president in the general election can amount to at least $70 million USD, although the amount of money required can vary. It is possible that at some point in the future, all presidential candidates will run without taking any federal contributions. According to campaign finance experts, this change could push the cost to more than $500 million USD.
Many individuals call the presidency the most expensive political office. It has this reputation in spite of the fact that the general election is publicly funded. People who wonder where the public funds come from should check a United States federal tax return. Near the top, there is a checkbox designed to indicate whether or not the filer wishes to contribute a small, set amount of money to the general election.