Hillary Clinton has been Wall Street's presidential darling so far by a large margin, but could be about to face some competition.
In her quest to be the nation's 45th president, the Democratic front-runner has taken in a stunning haul from the finance industry — just shy of $27 million and counting, according to the latest filings as analyzed by OpenSecrets.org. The New York metro area specifically has contributed $40.9 million of the total $204.3 million she has raised.
One of the reasons Clinton has been able to stockpile so much Wall Street cash is that she has no competition in that regard. Her lone remaining challenger, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders , has forsworn Wall Street cash and has taken no money from the finance industry. Sanders has launched withering criticism at Clinton, calling her a pawn of Wall Street power brokers for accepting lucrative speaking fees as well as campaign donations.
On the Republican side, presumptive nominee Donald Trump has raised a meager $283,040 of his $57.7 million total from finance.
However, things could be about to change.
As Trump moves away from the self-funded portion of his campaign and gets more aggressive about soliciting donor cash, the Street is likely to start paying him more attention and funneling more money his way.
"Earlier this year, Wall Street was outright hostile to Trump," said Greg Valliere, chief global strategist at Horizon Investments and an expert on the Wall Street-Washington nexus. "Now, Wall Street is beginning to warm up to him, especially since it looks like he might have a chance."
Indeed, Trump now looks like a serious threat to take down Clinton.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll in early March gave Clinton a 13-point lead in a head-to-head matchup. That's been cut to 3, according to the most recent poll, which showed results within the margin of error, making the race a technical dead heat. The RealClearPolitics average gives Clinton just a 1-point edge.
Neither candidate's spokespeople responded to requests for comment.
It's hard to quantify just how much enthusiasm Wall Street will show for Trump. While Clinton is hardly adored in the financial community, she's at least viewed as a known quantity, whereas Trump's ever-evolving positions create the kind of uncertainty that makes folks on the Street bristle.
"There's a feeling on Wall Street that she understands issues and knows a lot of the players," Valliere said. "An awful lot of people on Wall Street would tolerate her."
However, Trump may be winning more hearts in the industry, if this analysis by author and former trader Turney Duff is correct.
Trump has been pivoting on some Wall Street-centric issues such as the role of the Federal Reserve and specifically Chair Janet Yellen , as well as how he feels about the Dodd-Frank bank reforms and some softening on his promised aggressive tax cuts that would steepen U.S. government debt.
The underlying reason may well be an effort to shake loose some cash as an expensive race to November looms.
"Will Trump begin to moderate his views toward Wall Street? Maybe, because people on Wall Street have talked to him, or maybe because he needs money from them," Valliere said. "All of a sudden he's gone from being a big Wall Street critic to favoring Wall Street very much."
Correction: Hillary Clinton is the Democratic front-runner. An earlier version mischaracterized her status.
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