Jeb Bush, Super PAC, Election Spending, Citizens United

Bush Drops Out After Donors Spend over $100 Million on 2016 Campaign

After a disappointing fourth-place finish in the South Carolina GOP presidential primary, former Florida governor Jeb Bush announced on Saturday that he is suspending his campaign for the Republican nomination for president in 2016.

I’m proud of the campaign that we have run to unify our country and to advocate conservative solutions that would give more Americans the opportunity to rise up and reach their God-given potential,” said Bush in the above-embedded Associated Press video. “But the people of Iowa and New Hampshire and South Carolina have spoken, and I really respect their decision. So tonight I am suspending my campaign.

Ultimately, the family name that made Bush a hit among the Republican establishment’s donor class became a liability in a race in which candidates angled to present themselves as warriors against the status quo. Current GOP frontrunner and billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump also relentlessly attacked Bush throughout the campaign, characterizing him as “low energy.

[RELATED: Bush Super PACs Outspent All Iowa Campaigns, Garnered Sixth-Place Finish]

According to Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets website, which tracks money in politics, super PACs supporting Jeb Bush raised over $118 million and spent over $94 million of that money promoting his candidacy. His official campaign committee burned through another $30 million.

Bush received far more help from outside super PACs than any other candidate in either party has in the race so far. Republican Sen. from Texas Ted Cruz, second among GOP candidates in super PAC fundraising, has only raised around $46 million in outside contributions.

[RELATED: DONEGAN: Citizens United Ruling Lets Advocacy Groups Expose Politicians’ Voting Records]

Following the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC ruling, which recognized the right of individuals, corporations, and non-profits to spend unlimited money on advertisements promoting their political ideas or preferred candidates, some political observers expressed worries that the ruling would allow a candidate with the strongest support among wealthy donors to utilize unlimited super PAC spending to buy an election.

In Jeb Bush’s case, this strategy did not work.

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