The Slatest

Ben Carson Has Way, Way More Small Donors Than Any Other Candidate (Including Bernie)

Carson admirers, human and otherwise, at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver on June 27.

Theo Stroomer/Getty

The two names atop this National Journal chart of 2016 presidential fundraising by candidate—Jeb “Jebley” Bush* and Hillary Clinton—probably won’t surprise you. Both are name-brand figures who are considered somewhere from likely to certain to win their parties’ nominations. The real standout factoid is further down the chart next to neurosurgeon Ben Carson’s name:

Screen shot/National Journal

What that means: Some 49,200 people have given $10,000 or less to Carson’s candidate committees, super PACs, and candidate leadership committees, which is by far the largest number of small (or small-ish) donors associated with any candidate. Compare Carson, for example, with the Democrats’ surgin’ grassroots phenom, Bernie Sanders:

Screen shot/National Journal

The only other candidate who even comes close to having half of Carson’s small donors is Clinton, who has 23,300.

Carson’s appeal to hard-core conservatives—he’s an accomplished doctor but also a right-wing paranoiac who’s said, for example, that prison can make you gay—was examined by GQ’s Jason Zengerle earlier this year in a profile titled “What if Sarah Palin Were a Brain Surgeon?” Carson is currently running somewhere between fourth and sixth in GOP 2016 polls.

* “Jebley” is not actually Jeb Bush’s nickname.

Update, 12:25 p.m.: If you’re curious, as I was, how Carson’s totals compare with Obama’s famous small-donor base in the 2008 election, here’s a New York Times article from April 2007 that says the Obama campaign claimed approximately 100,000 direct donors (i.e., those who gave directly to the campaign and thus were limited by law to individual donations well under $10,000) in the first quarter of that year alone. (The Clinton campaign said it had about 50,000 donors in that period.)