How much did each presidential candidate spend per vote?

Kasich's Convention Absence Fuels Rift

The presidential primaries don't cross many Americans' minds these days. It's convention season, and the public has turned its attention to the two nominees, strapping in for what promises to be an especially contentious general election.

But even as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton prepare to duke it out between now and Nov. 8, most of the former presidential hopefuls remain financially mired in primary season.

The race for the White House isn't cheap. The most recent report from the Federal Election Commission shows that all of the former candidates are still paying off their presidential bids, even if they ended months ago. For instance, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's spent nearly $350,000 in June, though he dropped out of the race on Feb. 10.

The July FEC report covers campaign spending through June 30, the end of the primaries. Using this data and overall vote counts, Graphiq's politics site InsideGov ranked the candidates by financial efficiency, or how much they paid per vote. The spending totals used by InsideGov do not include money from super PACs. Though political action committees often back a specific candidate, they are technically separate entities from the campaign and cannot coordinate spending.

The candidates who paid the most per vote typically exited the race early, like Christie. These presidential contenders poured piles of money into early contests like Iowa and New Hampshire, but left the field soon after. Their vote totals took a dive after leaving the race, but some candidates still had a steady trickle of support. The people who stayed in the race the longest have the lowest cost per vote -- only one of the top five most efficient candidates dropped out before April.

Though the Trump campaign was noted for dominating the field with minimal spending, a different candidate got more bang for his buck than the billionaire businessman. Let's count down from the Republican who paid over $1,000 per vote to the candidate who spent only $4.57 on each supporter.

(*InsideGov estimated vote totals in the Iowa, Nevada, Maine, Alaska and Washington Democratic caucuses using voter turnout and proportional state delegates won. Those caucuses don't report the actual number of votes cast)

#16. Lindsey Graham: $1,013.74 per vote

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Total Spending: $5,700,248
June Spending: $15,952
Total Vote Count: 5,623

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham ended his bid for the Republican nomination in December 2015, a month before the primaries even began. Though he managed to pull together a handful of votes during the nomination process, the early departure contributed to his astronomical dollar-per-vote figure, which is about 3.5 times higher than the next on the list. After leaving the race, Graham made headlines as an outspoken critic of Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.

#15. Carly Fiorina: $290.67 per vote


Total Spending: $11,254,591
June Spending: $76,110
Total Vote Count: 38,719

In September 2015, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina looked like she could be a serious contender for the Republican nomination -- as the only woman in the GOP race, she brought diversity to a predominantly white, male Republican field. But her stock quickly tanked and she dropped out after receiving less than 2 percent of the vote in the Iowa caucus. She briefly reentered the race as Sen. Ted Cruz's pick for vice president, but he withdrew his bid a few weeks later.

#14. George Pataki: $273.68 per vote


Total Spending: $86,285,610
June Spending: $490,288
Total Vote Count: 7,695,349

As the only other candidate to win multiple state primaries, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was one of the last men standing against Donald Trump. His campaign steadily raised money until Cruz conceded to the eventual nominee on May 3. He was booed last week during his speech at the Republican National Convention after failing to explicitly endorse Trump.

#2. Donald Trump: $5.19 per vote


Total Spending: $71,087,144
June Spending: $7,800,248
Total Vote Count: 13,706,642

Donald Trump's campaign, half of which he financed himself, got a lot of bang for its buck. His financial efficiency may be attributed to the media, which gave him substantially more coverage than any other candidate.

#1. John Kasich: $4.57 per vote


Total Spending: $19,335,673
June Spending: $501,210
Total Vote Count: 4,226,732

Ohio Gov. John Kasich won the title for the most financially efficient candidate. Though his only primary victory came in his home state, Kasich's candidacy endured until May 3, steadily raking in votes without much spending. His marathon approach gave him the lowest dollar-per-vote figure in the 2016 race.

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