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GOP sees green in OKC

Three 2016 presidential candidates stopped in Oklahoma City in the last week to campaign and fundraise.

While Donald Trump came to campaign at the Oklahoma State Fair, Carly Fiorina and Jeb Bush came to raise campaign funds. Bush’s invite-only event cost $2,700 a plate, while Fiorina fundraised with the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association.

The 2016 election is projected to be the most expensive presidential election to date, with upwards of $5 billion spent on campaigns. During the 2012 presidential elections, the total cost of campaigning was $2,621,415,792.

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson announced Wednesday his campaign has raised $20 million in the last three months. Democratic frontrunner Hillary Rodham Clinton also announced her campaign raised $28 million in the last three months.

The race for funds is forcing candidates to make stops in predominately red states to fundraise.

According to a 2010 poll, 48 percent of candidates funds come from large individual donations. The same poll stated that less than 10 percent of Americans have ever donated to candidates for any office, and about .5 percent have given more than $200.

“Some [candidates] brag about accepting lots of small donations, of $10-$25 and do not seek out big donors so they can claim they are not being bought by ‘special interest groups’ like the oil and gas industry,” said Sonny Branham, assistant professor of government at ORU.

Fundraising is important and candidates seek volunteers to help with campaigning, Branham said.

“Over 40 students were taken to Iowa twice in 2011 to campaign for [alumna] Michele Bachmann,” said Branham. “In 2008 nearly 150 ORU students were taken on chartered buses to Colorado and paid $50 per day plus all expenses covered to campaign for Republican candidates there.”

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