The Windfall Of A Losing Presidential Candidacy

Many candidates are finding upsides to running for office and losing.
Posted at 8:33 PM, Mar 13, 2019

In presidential races, only one person wins, but the fringe benefits are spread around. Even some failed candidates step into a world of hefty speaking fees, book deals, cable news gigs and consulting fees amounting to a small mint. 

Hillary Clinton lost in 2016, but less than a year later, her book "What Happened" broke records, moving more than 300,000 copies the first week. That includes hardcover copies, e-books, CDs and audiobooks. 

The advance for "What Happened" wasn't released. But an earlier book, "Living History," about her years as first lady landed her an $8 million advance, a near record at the time. "Hard Choices", released in 2014, landed her a reported $14 million.

On top of that, Clinton continues to make speeches, but the fees vary — often upwards of $200,000. Plenty of non-Clintons also enjoy post-candidacy splendors.

Mike Huckabee ran for president in 2008 but dropped out early in the primary season. On his 2007 financial disclosure form, the ex-governor listed business income of $325,000 salary, book royalties and a one-time consulting fee, plus speaking fees of $138,500. 

After leaving the race, Huckabee landed a Fox News show, a national radio show and published a 2015 bestseller "God, Guns, Grits & Gravy." Fast-forward, his 2015 bottom line was noticeably larger: $3 million in business income, $975,700 in speaking fees. 

His speaking fee had more than doubled post-candidacy. In 2007, he averaged $9,233 per speech; in 2015, it was $22,175.

Then there's consulting. In 2004, Vermont's former governor Howard Dean screamed his way to defeat in the Democratic primary, then became a senior adviser at Dentons, an international legal and consulting agency. He was then chair of the DNC. Then he became a regular commentator on MSNBC, and he shares a speaking rep with Hillary Clinton: The Harry Walker Agency.

Rick Santorum made an unsuccessful run in 2012. The ex-senator went from no speaking fees to $330,000 from 23 speeches. Today, Santorum is a CNN political commentator.

Sarah Palin rode a VP nomination all the way to the bank.

Forbes reported that she got a $2.5 million advance for her 2009 book, "Going Rogue." After selling a few million copies, the governor got an estimated $6 million. 

As a commentator with Fox News, Palin commanded a reported $1 million a year. And a show on the Sportsman Channel, "Amazing America with Sarah Palin".

The financial benefits of running for the White House can be impressive. But many candidates walk away with little more than the sting of defeat.