Days to go, Clinton and Democrats are winning the money race

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JUDY WOODRUFF: Another big numbers focus during this election has been on money, how the candidates have raised and spent it, and what that says about their campaigns.

Matea Gold covers money and influence for The Washington Post, and she joins us now.

Matea, welcome back to the program.

So, tell us, what do we know at this point about what Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, how much they have raised and how much they have spent?

MATEA GOLD, The Washington Post: So, what’s remarkable is that Hillary Clinton has raised more than double Donald Trump, and her campaign committee, nearly $500 million, to his $219 million. And so she is by default also vastly outspending him.

In the month of September, she plowed $95 million into her campaign effort; $66 million of that went into television ads alone. Donald Trump spent a third of that on television ads, as he’s trying to really build up his voter file. We saw a lot of money going into getting voter data, but really he is getting outflanked by Clinton on the money race in every regard.

JUDY WOODRUFF: What else can you tell us, Matea, about what they’re spending money on, staff organization, get-out-the-vote?

MATEA GOLD: What is really interesting is, if you look at the campaign spending strategy, you see a reflection of the infrastructure that they have invested in.

So, Clinton, for example, had 815 staffers on her payroll at the end of September. That’s compared to 168 staffers that Trump had on his payroll. And what you see in there is the investment that Clinton is making in a ground game. She has staffers deployed all across the country in an effort to turn out the vote.

Trump, on the other hand, is leaning much more heavily on the RNC to provide that voter mobilization effort.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, Matea, you were telling us, it’s interesting to look at how much Donald Trump himself is putting into his campaign. What do you see in that regard?

MATEA GOLD: What’s been very curious is that Trump continues to insist that he’s putting $100 million, if not more, into his campaign of his own personal funds.

As of now, we have only seen $56 million. That’s a large sum, but obviously not close to $100 million. He has a very short remaining window of time to put in the remaining $44 million, and we will see if that actually comes to be.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And what about in terms of reimbursing himself, the campaign? How does that work and how typical is that?

MATEA GOLD: So, the Trump campaign has used a lot of Trump properties as he has been making his bid for the White House. They have had events at Trump hotels. They have their campaign headquarters in Trump Tower.

And, under the law, he’s not allowed to let those companies donate those services. So, he does have to reimburse them for it. But his decision to use Trump companies in the pursuit of his campaign means that he’s also putting a lot of money back into his own companies, more than $9 million to date, including $1 million in reimbursements last month.

So, the majority of that money has gone to reimburse TAG Air, which is his private airline.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, Matea, you also wrote this week that Donald Trump has decided some days ago to stop holding big-dollar fund-raising events for himself and the GOP. Why do that?

MATEA GOLD: So, it is typical at this point for the presidential candidates to get off the money circuit and just stick to campaign events and rallies.

But what’s unusual is, the Trump campaign didn’t set up a schedule of fund-raising events for surrogates to continue to bring in high-dollar donations to support party in these final days. Clinton has 41 events scheduled on the books between now and November 3. The Trump campaign now says they have a handful of events. They might do more ad hoc events.

But they have taken a very different approach to this. They said that they are raising a lot of money online, some of which will go to the partly, but the majority of their efforts right now are on — is on making his case to voters.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And, finally, Matea, you were talking to us about what you have noted in terms of how Clinton is raising big sums of money from groups that were, frankly, enabled to give money by that famous Supreme Court decision Citizens United.

MATEA GOLD: Right.

One thing that is such a dramatic storyline in the money race, I think, this year is the full embrace by Clinton of super PACs, which were really entities that President Obama was very reluctant to support and use to his reelection advantage.

But, by contrast, Clinton, from the very beginning of her race, made it clear that she wanted donors to support these groups. Because of that, she’s been able to raise, in conjunction with super PACs and the party, $1.1 billion in pursuit of the White House.

JUDY WOODRUFF: And, finally, you said that you were surprised the Democrats have raised as much money as they have this cycle.

MATEA GOLD: Well, I don’t think anyone would have predicted when the cycle started that Democrats would win at the money race.

But we have seen that the super PACs that have formed to support Trump have not been very well-organized. They have gotten conflicting messages from the campaign. And, because of that, donors have been reluctant, until recently, to write big checks.

Because the Democrats were so organized on the big-money front, they have been able to collect large checks from the very beginning of this race, and now they have the resources to use that money in the final stretch.

JUDY WOODRUFF: A remarkable set of stories. Nobody follows this more closely than you do.

Matea Gold with The Washington Post, we thank you.

MATEA GOLD: Thanks, Judy.

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