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Presenting The Presidential Money Maps: Here's Where The Checks Come From

Donald Trump has made a few things abundantly clear in the months since announcing his candidacy for The White House. Here are a few points Trump has been keen to communicate unequivocally: 1) illegal immigrants have to go, 2) China is “winning” at “everything”, 3) there are no “losers” allowed, and 4) he is very, very rich. 

That last point means the brazen billionaire is self-funding his campaign, a move he hopes will set him apart in the minds of voters.

To be sure, the idea that politicians are influenced by their campaign donors and that this is everywhere and always a bad thing plays well with large swaths of the electorate. Trump hopes his message - “no one controls me” - will resonate in a country that’s largely fed up with business as usual inside the Beltway and indeed, given the scrutiny on the Clinton Foundation and what influence its donors might have exercised in the past, the self-funded campaign card might be something Trump can play effectively when debating Hillary - assuming she gets her party’s nomination. 

Of course campaign finance has been a thorny issue for years and although one can disagree with Trump on quite a few of his positions, one thing that isn’t debatable is this: where the money comes from matters. 

On that note, we present the following maps which break down where (geographically speaking) the candidates in this election cycle are getting their checks. You can view the full collection here - presented below are the particularly notable maps followed by color on each from Bloomberg:

Super-PAC contributions:

This map shows only the contributions to super-PACs and other independent groups supporting a presidential candidate. These groups can accept donations of unlimited size from individuals, unions and corporations. (Campaigns can’t accept corporate or union money and are limited to $2,700 per individual per race.) Notice that even in Democratic enclaves like New York and San Francisco, the big money is flowing mostly to GOP candidates.

Million dollar or more donors:

Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush was the fundraising leader in the first half of 2016, pulling in $115 million, mostly through his super-PAC. Not surprisingly, the former Florida governor leaned heavily on his home state, but he also picked up large checks from across the country. He had a lower number of donations than some of his rivals—possibly because he waited until later in the year to declare his candidacy and become eligible to accept direct campaign contributions.

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton’s contributors skew more toward the coasts than the leading Republicans’, and didn't write any checks larger than about $1 million.

Bernie Sanders

Only about $3 million of the $15 million raised by Bernie Sanders in the first half appears on the map below. That’s because the rest came from donors who gave such small amounts—under $200—that their names and addresses weren’t required to be disclosed. Sanders attracted small-dollar contributions from across the country while discouraging the formation of any super-PACs to support him.

Donald Trump