By the end of the March, Hillary Clinton had far outpaced Donald Trump in direct campaign contributions both in the Golden Triangle and in Mississippi.
More than 70 donations had come from Golden Triangle residents directly to either Trump’s or Clinton’s campaigns, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission. The donations range from small amounts of $5 and $10 to the maximum amount allowed for individuals, $2,700. These donations do not include contributions to Political Action Committees and do not include unitemized contributions.
Through the end of the first reporting period, nine people in the Golden Triangle donated a total of $6,757 to Clinton; one donated $2,700 to Trump.
Susan Williams, a nurse living in Starkville, was one of two people in the area to donate the maximum of $2,700 to Clinton’s campaign during the period.
“She’s very likable and very knowledgeable,” Williams said of Clinton, who she has met twice.
In particular, Williams likes that Clinton pays attention to women’s issues, which she feels male politicians often overlook.
Columbus native Hayden Crume is the sole local donor to Trump. Reports show he donated $2,700 — the maximum allowed — to the Republican candidate in the spring of 2015. As of March only four people in Mississippi had donated the maximum amount to Trump.
Crume likes that Trump looks at government like a business, not a charity. He also likes that Trump is not politically correct.
“All the talking points that Trump is throwing out there resonate with me and apparently the general public who have the same viewpoint as I do, which are mostly American viewpoints, traditional viewpoints,” he said.
Williams and Crume aren’t alone.
Over 900 Mississippians donated to the Clinton campaign through March, amounting to $214,795 in itemized individual contributions according to the FEC’s data. Nationally, she pulled in over $147.5 million.
Trump’s campaign contributions have not taken off as quickly. By April, his campaign had received just over 100 itemized individual contributions from Mississippians for a total of $33,726. Nationally, the candidate received about $3.5 million from itemized individual contributions.
Rob Mellen, a professor of political science at Mississippi State University, says Trump’s relatively small numbers are due to several reasons, one being that Trump had far more primary opponents than Clinton. Trump also began by announcing that he was mostly self-funding his campaign and has indicated he might leave the majority of fundraising up to the Republican National Committee, Mellen said.
Mellen added that if Trump does begin fundraising from individuals the way candidates traditionally do in political campaigns, he will probably receive far more money from Mississippians than Clinton.
“I would be surprised if Mississippians end up giving more to Mrs. Clinton than Mr. Trump just because of the demographics and who her supporters are likely to be,” Mellen said.
It’s the rare citizen who donates money to an individual candidate’s campaign anyway, Mellen noted.
“Most Americans don’t contribute to political campaigns,” he said. “In fact I think the number is south of two percent.”
Mellon added the numbers are constantly changing. Candidates must report their donations to the FEC for the second filing period by July 15.
“We’ll have a much better picture of what the fundraising is starting to look like since the two candidates have presumably lapped up the party nominations,” Mellen said. “We’ll have a much better picture by mid to late July.”
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