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41 Presidential Campaigns Are In Debt

By on May 30, 2016 in Politics

According to data from the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the campaigns for a total of 41 candidates for United States president currently have debt. There are currently 698 candidates for president (more have filed with the FEC since our article from a week ago when there were 676 candidates).

A bar chart of US Presidential Candidates, ordered by campaign debt. On the left of the graph most candidates owe a couple hundred or a couple thousand dollars, and the candidates on the right owe a couple million. Donald Trump owes the most, at approximately $43 million.interactive, code, data

The total debt between all candidates is $58,925,870.90. However, 73.7% of this debt comes from Donald Trump’s campaign alone, which is $43,454,544.39 in debt. His campaign has this much debt because he (Donald J. Trump, the person) has been loaning his campaign committee (Donald J. Trump For President, Inc.) money. In total, he’s loaned $43,454,544.39, or to put it another way, the only person to loan money to Donald J. Trump For President is Donald J. Trump. He also has not paid any of the loan money back yet, and it’s not clear if he will at all.
A bar chart of Donald Trump's total campaign loans by filing period. For most filing periods (which is the x-axis) Trump took more loans and his total amount loaned kept increasing.interactive, 1

For the above bar chart, note that “Feb 2016” contains all money raised in January (from January 1st→January 31st); it’s called Feb 2016 because that’s when the filing report for January contributions was due. The orange bar represents the amount of money that Trump gave to his campaign during that filing period. The blue bar is the total amount of money that Trump loaned himself until that filing period.

Chris Christie, a candidate who dropped out of the race, endorsed Trump a few months ago. Two weeks ago, Trump hosted a fundraiser to help Christie pay off his campaign’s debt (which was at $383,517.79 as of his last FEC filing).

The 41 candidates have a combined debt of $58,925,870.90, or an average of $1,437,216.36 each. The median amount of debt owed (only for candidates who have debt) is $9,810.00.2 Coincidentally, the candidate who owes this much, Ajay Sood, also holds the median for amount of money raised by candidates (who raised >$0). I found that to be a very interesting coincidence.


1. data manually obtained from Trump’s Federal Election Commission filings
2. code

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