It takes money to win a presidential election in the United States, and so far, presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign is easily winning that battle.
According to documents filed on Monday with the Federal Elections Commission, Clinton raised more than $26 million in May and began this month with $42.5 million in the bank.
By contrast, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump’s campaign had just $1.3 million. He raised $5.6 million in May, began the month with $2.4 million and spent $6.7 million.
Both Trump and Clinton will get help from their parties and from outside groups known as super PACs that will spend money on television advertisements backing the candidates. But it is important for each of them to have a lot of their own money to spend on advertisements of their own and campaigning efforts across the country’s 50 states.
The last presidential election in 2012 shows just how much cash is needed in modern campaigns.
President Barack Obama’s campaign committee spent $775 million of its own money to get him re-elected. His challenger, Republican Mitt Romney, spent $460 million. The parties and super PACS added several hundred million more dollars to the race.
With about five months before the November 8 election, Clinton has outspent Trump $196 million to $63 million so far, according to the FEC figures. At this point in the 2012 race, Obama had outspent Romney $232 million to $107 million.
Obama’s campaign was a fundraising machine and entered June 2012 with $109.7 million in the bank after raising $39 million in May alone, while Romney had about $17 million on hand.
The big money flowing into the Democratic and Republican parties for every election further shows why third parties have a hard time competing for the presidency in the U.S.
Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, came in distant third place in 2012 and is running again this year. His last campaign spent a total of $2.5 million, and so far this cycle has spent $524,000. Green Party candidate Jill Stein has spent about $450,000 for her 2016 presidential bid after spending just $1 million in 2012.
To put those numbers in perspective, Trump’s FEC filings show that in May alone his campaign paid his own Mar-a-Lago Club $423,000 for facility rental and catering, while Clinton’s May spending included a $303,000 payment for insurance.