- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 10, 2016

He may be a billionaire, but President-elect Donald Trump showed during the presidential race that he knows how to stretch a buck.

The Republican candidate and his backers spent only half that of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her supporters on the way to his Nov. 8 victory, according to media reports on campaign spending released Friday.

The Clinton campaign, Democratic Party and pro-Clinton expenditure committees and PACs spent a record $1.2 billion, twice as much as the $600 million laid out by the Trump camp, Republicans and pro-Trump groups, the New York Post reported.

The latest Federal Election Commission figures back Mr. Trump’s assertion six months ago that there was no need for him to amass at least $1 billion to run a successful race against the former Secretary of State, given the former reality television star’s ability to draw free media.

“There’s no reason to raise that,” Mr. Trump told Bloomberg in June. “I just don’t think I need nearly as much money as other people need because I get so much publicity. I get so many invitations to be on television. I get so many interviews, if I want them.”

Mr. Trump estimated at one point that he would need to spend $100 million of his own money, but wound up contributing $66 million, about a third less than anticipated.

While both campaigns went on a spending spree in the final stretch, Mrs. Clinton was left with only $839,000 on hand by the end of the election, while Mr. Trump still had $7.6 million.

Mrs. Clinton wound up blowing past the spending record set in 2012 by President Obama, whose campaign and Democrat committees spent $1.12 billion, slightly more than the $1.02 billion spent by Republican Mitt Romney and GOP groups.

The Trump campaign committee alone spent $328.4 million through late November as opposed to $563.9 million by the Clinton camp, according to the FEC.

In other words, Mr. Trump’s 306 electoral votes cost about $1.05 million a piece, while each of Mrs. Clinton’s 232 electoral votes cost $2.43 million, an NBC News analysis found.

Republican candidates for federal office in general got more bang for their buck than did Democrats. Republicans spent $633.1 million to the Democrats’ $799.5 million.

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