Five takeaways from latest fundraising reports
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While the presidential primary candidates are out competing for delegates, they are also hustling to keep their finances in shape to pay their growing bills before the season shifts toward the general election.

Campaigns and super-PACs disclosed their March financial reports to the Federal Election Commission this week, and The Hill has five big takeaways.

1. Bernie SandersBernie SandersPoll: Sanders leads Biden by 9 points in Iowa Poll: Biden leads in Iowa ahead of caucuses The Memo: Impeachment dominates final Iowa sprint MORE is on a spending spree

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP senator says idea that Ukraine interfered in US election is 'not a conspiracy theory' Cotton: Democrats are 'upset that their witnesses haven't said what they want them to say' Trump's troubles won't end with a Senate acquittal MORE and her allies wish Bernie Sanders would disappear gently into the night. But Sanders is not taking the hint.


The Vermont senator is accelerating his spending despite falling so far behind Clinton in the delegate count that a Sanders nomination is becoming a mathematical fantasy.

In March, the Sanders campaign raised $46 million and spent $45.7 million, much of which went toward commercials — his biggest spending month so far this campaign.

Sanders, who finished March with $17.5 million in the bank, has built an online fundraising machine that’s vacuuming up small-dollar donations at a rate never seen before in history. Sanders now essentially owns an Internet ATM that will give him all the money he needs to annoy Clinton all the way to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia on July 25.

2. Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump denies telling Bolton Ukraine aid was tied to investigations Former senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Title, release date revealed for Bolton memoir MORE is going pro

Donald Trump is finally getting serious about building a professional organization. Until recently, he’s been campaigning on the cheap, relying on a small and inexperienced staff, buying minimal technology, commissioning almost no polling and benefiting from his enormous social media following and some $2 billion worth of free media due to his 24/7 appearances on cable TV shows.

Now in a tense battle with Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump, Democrats risk unintended consequences with impeachment arguments Impeachment trial to enter new phase with Trump defense Jordan says he thinks trial will be over by next week MORE for delegates, Trump is frantically professionalizing, and the transition is clear in his March expenditure report. While Trump’s most recent staff recruitments don’t show up yet — most notably the hiring of veteran GOP strategist Paul Manafort as convention manager — there are other signs in the FEC filing that Trump’s campaign is morphing into a more traditional operation.

March was Trump’s biggest spending month to date, with his campaign outlaying about $13.8 million, nearly half of which was spent on advertising. Trump loaned his campaign $11.5 million in March, bringing his personal loans to his campaign to $36 million — still vastly lower spending than the campaign of Democratic front-runner Clinton.

Trump also expanded his digital expenditure during March, spending about $1.1 million on website development and digital consulting over the month. This is a significant uptick and exceeds the total spent by the GOP front-runner spent on technology and data from the beginning of his campaign through to the end of February, according to The Hill’s analysis of FEC data.

3. Clinton is grinding it out the old-fashioned way

Clinton is no slouch at fundraising. Over the past 30 years, she and her husband have built the most imposing donor Rolodex in the modern Democratic Party, from Wall Street to Silicon Valley.

So it’s strange to see Clinton getting out-hustled by a white-haired democratic socialist who abhors big money, but that’s exactly what’s happening. In March, Clinton was outraised by Sanders for the third consecutive month, after beginning the cycle tens of millions ahead of her rival in fundraising.

In March, Clinton’s campaign raised $26.8 million and spent $28.7 million. She’s still in solid shape financially, finishing March with about $29 million in the bank, but unlike Sanders, Clinton is still raising the majority of her money in amounts larger than $200, meaning she has to spend much of her time on the campaign trail trawling around cocktail parties and holding fundraisers with the likes of George Clooney.

4. Cruz is not (yet) catching fire

Cruz insists that the Republican Party is uniting around his candidacy to stop Trump, but the uniting is not yet evident in his fundraising figures.

Cruz’s March report reveals a lackluster money operation, taking in just $12.5 million and spending nearly as much over the course of the month. It’s about in line with what he received in February, which is not a good sign given March was a bloodbath for the Republican establishment, with favored candidates Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioFormer senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses 'The worst news': Political world mourns loss of Kobe Bryant Des Moines Register endorses Elizabeth Warren as Democratic presidential nominee MORE and Jeb Bush both quitting the race. If ever there was an opportunity for Cruz to consolidate the GOP donor class, it was last month.

But Cruz, who finished March with $8.8 million cash on hand, has several things working in his favor to help boost his fundraising.

The Cruz campaign has at least seven super-PACs supporting it, and the outside groups finished March with a combined $21.4 million cash on hand, according to The Hill's analysis of FEC data. And with Rubio and Bush out of the race, the Republican donor class now has nowhere left to turn.

5. John Kasich is running on financial fumes

John Kasich has never had much of a financial operation. He began his campaign by bunkering down in New Hampshire, and hardly bothered to build an apparatus in any of the other states.

Now, the Ohio governor is struggling to raise enough money to support basic ongoing operations while he and his allies try to sell the argument that he can win the nomination at a contested convention even if he arrives in Cleveland a distant third in the delegate count.

So far the donors aren’t buying whatever Kasich is selling. In March, the Kasich campaign raised a paltry $4.5 million and spent slightly more than that, finishing the month with less than $1.2 million in the bank.

And it’s not like Kasich has an abundance of cash on the super-PAC side, either. His main super-PAC, New Day for America, raised $2.8 million in March and spent more than $4 million, leaving the group with $1.2 million cash on hand at the end of the month. That’s less money than Sanders raises in a single day.