There are a couple of similarities between 2008 and 2016 for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and they’re not exactly flattering. In both election years she had way more money to spend than her closest competitor. And in both election years, she blew what were once formidable leads in the Iowa caucus.
Things weren’t quite as bad Monday for Clinton, who appeared to narrowly avoid losing to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in Iowa. Still, fundraising totals show she raised $38 million more than Sanders last year and still wasn’t able to cinch a blowout victory.
So far in 2016, Clinton’s primary campaign committee has raised just over $112 million to take her to the White House to beat out Sanders, who has raised more than $74 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. As Monday turned into Tuesday, that big lead in fundraising didn’t translate into a big lead in votes, and Clinton had an edge on Sanders of a tiny 0.3 percent, or 49.9 percent to 49.6 percent, in Iowa.
If 2008 is any indicator, the minuscule lead could have something to do with how the Clinton campaign allocates its funds. Back then, the campaign spent lavishly at its start, including $100,000 on party platters and groceries for the Iowa caucuses and thousands of dollars for luxury hotel rooms, according to the New York Times. In addition to those expenses, the campaign spent at least $5 million on top consultants. Clinton donors at the time questioned the wisdom of those expenses, since the campaign seemed to be flailing against then-Sen. Barack Obama.
“The problem is, she ran a campaign like they were staying at the Ritz-Carlton,”Joe Trippi, a senior adviser for John Edwards’ campaign, told the New York Times then. “Everything was the best — the most expensive draping at events, the biggest charter. It was like, ‘We’re going to show you how presidential we are by making our events look presidential.’”
Clinton and Sanders will now face off in New Hampshire, a state that revived Clinton’s campaign eight years ago but appears likely to pull for her opponent in 2016.