Dr. Ben Carson speaks at a luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington, Oct 9, 2015.
Andrew Harnik—AP
By Zeke J Miller
October 16, 2015

The numbers are in, and the outsider candidates are winning. Third quarter campaign finance reports were due in by midnight and the results weren’t great for establishment candidates.

Three of the top four GOP fundraisers are outsider candidates, led by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson with $20.7 million raised—though he spent about half that sum simply on fundraising appeals. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush followed with $13.4 million, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz with $12.2 million, and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina with $6.8 million.

Real estate mogul Donald Trump, who has pledged to self-fund his campaign, didn’t have to this quarter, raising $3.9 million in unsolicited funds to cover the cost of his shoestring campaign.

Cruz tops the race for cash-on-hand, followed by Carson, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and then Bush—all possessing north of $10 million in the bank. Lagging in the money race were the governors, New Jersey’s Chris Christie and Ohio’s John Kasich, who raised $4.2 million and $4.4 million respectively, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who raised just $2.5 million as he has dropped precipitously in polls.

In the Democratic primary, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is giving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a run for her money, raising $26.2 million to her $29.9 million. She also has more cash on hand, at $33 million to Sanders’ $27 million, which she is burning through at a brisk clip. (In case you were wondering, long-shot candidate Lincoln Chafee raised $11,336 in the third quarter. He owes himself $364,000.)

The fundraising numbers are just the latest confirmation of what the polls show: the bipartisan frustration with mainstream candidates—more acute in the GOP—is driving support and dollars to candidates who pledge to overthrow the current political order. The cash gives these candidates what polls don’t—the ability to act on their agendas, enabling them to stay in the race far longer than many would have expected just months ago.

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