From Open Secrets:
As the election year begins and we await the presidential and super PAC filings due Jan. 31, it’s a good time to look…backward. Major hauls for the fourth quarter of 2015 are being reported by some candidates to conclude a year that started slowly for them and saw much funding going to super PACs backing the many White House hopefuls.
But how do the totals compare to those of previous cycles?
Presidential candidates have brought in $10 million or more in contributions during the final three months of the cycle’s off year 12 times in the past. The two biggest totals came from incumbents running for re-election who didn’t have significant primary challengers to siphon off donations: George W. Bush reported $46.7 million in contributions in the last quarter of 2003 and Barack Obama raised $31.9 million at the end of 2011. Bush’s record may stand, though early reports from the current candidates indicate that both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders could beat the Obama total. Clinton’s campaign claims $37 million in receipts, while Sanders’ claims $33 million; what we don’t know yet are their more important “contributions” totals.
The first campaign to hit the $10 million mark for the corresponding quarter was George H.W. Bush’s re-election effort in the final three months of 1991.
Three other previous campaigns exceeded $20 million in contributions for the quarter: Clinton’s with $26.5 million at the end of 2007; Barack Obama’s, which received $22.8 million that same quarter; and Mitt Romney’s, which…