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‘Burn rate’ a snapshot of campaign health

Kimberly Adams Oct 16, 2015
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‘Burn rate’ a snapshot of campaign health

Kimberly Adams Oct 16, 2015
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The 22 presidential campaigns have raised about $274 million so far, according to an Associated Press analysis

But there’s another aspect to consider, what’s called the “burn rate.” Research from Echelon Insights said 2016 candidates are burning through cash much faster than in previous elections.

“Burn rate is just the rate at which you’re burning dollars,” said Katie Packer of Burning Glass Consulting, a Republican consulting firm. Take two candidates like Bernie Sanders and Ben Carson — both raised more than $20 million, but Carson is spending much faster.

Packer said candidates have to be careful about spending so much of their money so early in the campaign.

“The sort of conventional wisdom,” said Packer, “is that you need to hold on to your cash as much as possible until you get very, very close to the time when voters are starting to cast their vote for a candidate.”

But there’s also a risk to hoarding campaign cash, according to Costas Panagopoulos a political science professor at Fordham University.

“Candidates do have to spend money early on so that they can introduce themselves effectively to the electorate and build upon that recognition as the campaign goes on,” he said.

Because TV ads won’t get any cheaper as the primaries get closer, and donors also look at burn rates to see how candidates are spending their money.  

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Costas Panagopoulos. The text has been corrected. 

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