Not a single major candidate has signed up to take taxpayer-supported matching funds for his presidential campaign this year, signaling the death of the system that had controlled campaigns since the Watergate era.
Iowa’s caucuses are already in the books and New Hampshire’s primary looms on Tuesday, but out of the 324 people who had filed statements of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission as of this weekend, only one, Buddy Roemer, has requested funding.
Even as late as 2008, eight candidates took matching money in the primary. They included John Edwards, a Democrat who collected $12.9 million, Joseph R. Biden, a Democrat who received $2 million, and Tom Tancredo, a Republican who received $2.1 million.
Sen. John McCain, the GOP’s 2008 presidential nominee, took the $84.1 million in general election money, though Democratic candidate Barack Obama became the first major-party nominee to reject the public campaign funds, breaking a primary campaign promise.
Blaming Mr. Obama, House Republicans voted last year to abolish the system, though their bill stalled in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
President Obama said he opposed abolishing the system, but has never introduced his own reform package.