"I understand the odds, particularly in today's political climate where fair debate is so often drowned out by huge sums of money. I know that more than one candidate in this process intends to raise at least a billion dollars—some estimates run as high as two billion dollars—in direct and indirect financial support. Highly paid political consultants are working to shape the 'messaging' of every major candidate."
The Context: Webb announced his candidacy through a letter posted to Facebook and reprinted on his campaign website, which begins with this sentiment. While his announcement letter includes mention of several issues discussed by other candidates, it is the format itself that provides the most poignant context for the statement, underscoring the funding needed for high-production candidacy videos or rallies.
Generally speaking, Campaign Mapping is concerned with the distribution of issue priorities and the possible effects of policy and candidate disposition, rather than the landscape of support. That said, because the priorities of supporters vary across regions, it is worth asking which corners of the country contribute most heavily to campaigns and other political organizations, thus possibly influencing policy priorities overall. This is especially true in light of Webb's comment that the discussion of the issues may be "drowned out" by this funding. And so, we asked
Where have the largest individual political contributions come from thus far in the 2016 election cycle? And what sorts of committees (candidates, parties, or PACs) are receiving the lion's share?
Note: The point raised (and the prominence given it) by Webb has got us thinking, and we plan on updating this map at several points as contributions roll in through the process.