Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani rather rudely inserted himself back into the national political conversation Wednesday night (as you've no doubt heard) by accusing President Obama of not loving America and not loving him -- equivalently important transgressions.
Whenever Giuliani starts nosing around in presidential politics, it's hard not to remember that he ran one of the most spectacularly terrible presidential campaigns in modern U.S. history. We pointed out earlier this week that observers should be cautious about reading too much into 2016 polls at this point, and Giuliani is an object lesson in that. But a tweet about the contrast between his fundraising and the outcome of that race made us wonder just how terrible Giuliani's 2008 race actually was.
Four of the most lucrative year-prior fundraising quarters for primary candidates were Giuliani's in 2007. Through June 2008, his campaign spent about $65.7 million, according to the Federal Election Commission, by which point Giuliani had long since dropped out of the race. What did he get for his money? Zero delegates and, according to the U.S. Election Atlas, just over 600,000 caucus and primary votes by the time the thing was over. For a grand total of about $110 a vote. Or, if you adjust to 2014 dollars, $121.
But that's actually not too terrible, historically speaking. Pulling similar data from other candidates since 1992, the most expensive votes were those for Sam Brownback (R-Kan.). His 2008 campaign spent $1,726 per vote in 2014 dollars.
If you're considering cost per delegate, Giuliani breaks the scale, because he didn't get any. The most spent for a delegate since 2000 was Steve Forbes (R), who laid out $6.6 million in 2014 dollars that year for his 10 delegates. That, readers of Forbes magazine will note, is not a very good return on investment.
And now, to twist the knife. A slew of candidates spent remarkably little on their votes, including a few who went on to win the nomination. (Which makes sense, as they got more votes.) But since 1992, the person who spent the least in 2014 dollars for the votes he received is none other than one Al Sharpton (D), who, you may be aware, gives Giuliani conniptions. Sharpton didn't get as many votes in 2004 as Giuliani got in 2008, but those votes cost him 56 times less.
Are we saying that Sharpton knows more about running for president than Giuliani? No, we are not saying that, because we do not want Giuliani to feel unloved. Too much of that going around.