Campaign Debt Outlives Presidential Races
(NEW YORK) — The race might be over, but it hasn’t all been paid for.
Presidential campaigns still owe millions of dollars to consultants, former staffers, phone companies, software vendors, database management firms, direct-mail firms, sign printers, event-productions companies and banks; in other words, nearly every kind of entity with which a campaign does business.
Some campaigns owe money back to the candidates themselves, and one owes money to a former rival.
The total won’t be known until campaigns file their next disclosures next month, but Obama and Romney owed nearly $8.5 million combined (all of Romney’s debt owed on a $3 million loan), according to their Oct. 17 pre-election disclosures. Of course, with more than $146 million in the bank, they likely have enough cash to cover it.
The failed GOP primary candidates, however, still owe their share: more than $7 million, according to their latest Federal Election Commission filings in September and October.
Candidate debt is commonplace, and the most notable examples are Hillary Clinton, whose 2008 presidential campaign still owed hundreds of thousands of dollars earlier this year; and Rudy Giuliani, whose 2008 campaign still owes $2.6 million. Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio, is in a class by himself, still owing nearly $2.7 million more than 20 years after running for president in 1984.
Half of the failed GOP presidential primary candidates have clean balance sheets. Jon Huntsman, Tim Aplenty, Ron Paul and Rick Perry have zero debt, according to their FEC disclosures. For the other half, some of the debts are complicated.
Herman Cain’s campaign owed $450,000 as of Sept. 30, all of it to Herman Cain. The candidate is owed $175,000 in “travel expenses” and $275,000 for a series of five loans, most of them $50,000 or less, which Cain made to his campaign between June and August of 2011. His campaign has already paid him back for eight loans totaling $400,000.
Rick Santorum’s campaign owed more than $1.1 million, and Michele Bachmann’s owed more than $530,000, as of their FEC filings in September and October, respectively, which is far more than they had in the bank, casting doubt on whether their 33 creditors will ever get paid.
Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, meanwhile, reported more than $227,000 in debt, while Green Party candidate Jill Stein reported $44,000; again, more than they had.
But among the 2012 GOP candidates, Newt Gingrich owes the most, hands down. He owed $4.9 million as of his last disclosure on Sept. 30, but after renting his list of supporters and reaching agreements with creditors, he’ll close the year owing $4.6 million, spokesman R.C. Hammond said.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio