At the end of the third quarter the candidates had to submit a bunch of financial documents. These included simple things like the dollars coming in, cash on hand, and expenditures. Let’s exclude Trump since should he ever decide to pay for his campaign out of pocket he could, and Jindal out of respect.
We can take a quick stab and ask “if no more donations were made how many would be expected to run out of cash before the end of the year?” There are five in this category: Paul, Christie, Huckabee, Carson, and Bush (in order of who would go broke first). But obviously donations are still coming in. What if we ask “assuming donations and expenditures come in at the same rate would anyone run out of cash before year end?” There is one who is still out on this metric: [mc_name name=’Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’P000603′ ]. That is, if you assume he continued to draw donations at the same rate (which he probably isn’t) and spent as much as a campaign needs to spend to compete (he already spent less than Bush, Cruz, Rubio, or Carson who are all genuine candidates) he still wouldn’t make it through December, and this is assuming he doesn’t scale up his campaign structure (which he would need to do). So no matter what Paul is just about to run out of cash.
However, even if you include the donations there are a few candidates who are not set to scale up. Specifically Paul, Christie, Huckabee, and Bush. If we make the (reasonable) assumption that Bush could cut back on his top level spending (~$4M per month) then you have a total of three candidates that should be expected to fold their tent for financial reasons before the end of the year: Paul, Huckabee, Christie.
I think we should expect Paul to be kicked off the island before the next debate (he has a 0.4% margin of error in New Hampshire, one bad poll puts him out) and then to subsequently drop his campaign. Huckabee will face a similar problem if his polls do not come up in Iowa. Christie is fairly safe as far as the debate goes due to New Hampshire, but unless he cuts spending to a level where he might as well not bother with running then he will be out due to cash.
Come January 1st we will likely see the third tier candidates (Bush, Fiornia, Huckabee, Paul, Christie, and Kasich) winnowed quite a bit. Watch for Bush to be pushed out by his own donors as the stench of loss deepens.
P.S. I post this now because the rough calculation using no more donations and last quarter’s spend rate would put this as the week Paul runs out of money.