Anti-Donald Trump groups spent big to stop him

Trump smashes Cruz's last stand

The money just couldn't stop him.

Donald Trump will likely become the Republican presidential nominee after a decisive victory in the Indiana primary and the departure of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on Tuesday night.


That milestone comes after groups opposing Trump's candidacy spent heavily to prevent his coronation. But where was the return on investment?

Outside organizations, which can support or oppose a presidential hopeful without coordinating with a candidate or party, have spent $43.3 million against Trump, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That compares with $13.3 million in spending by outside groups supporting Trump.

Protesters outside the hotel where Donald Trump was speaking, Burlingame, California, April 29, 2016.
Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images

Those organizations, as well as Trump's GOP rivals, had funneled resources into knocking down the bombastic businessman as he pulled in more pledged delegates toward the party's nomination. Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who sources say plans to suspend his campaign Wednesday night, had attempted to unify the non-Trump vote.

But in Indiana, which Cruz and many political observers had called a critical juncture in preventing a Trump nomination, their efforts came up short. Trump garnered more than 50 percent of the vote, easily handling Cruz.

With Cruz dropping out, Trump took a remarkably cheap path to becoming the party's likely nominee.

His campaign committee spent $46.3 million through the end of March, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. The bulk of its funding, roughly $36 million, came in loans from Trump himself, while $12 million was contributed.

Cruz's campaign committee spent nearly $70 million through the end of March, while outside groups supporting him chipped in more than $42 million.

On the Democratic side, campaign committees for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders have each spent more than $150 million. Outside groups have used more than $30 million supporting Clinton.

Only Kasich has spent less than Trump among the candidates still in the race entering Tuesday.

Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) walks away after announcing the suspension of his campaign during his election night watch party at the Crowne Plaza Downtown Union Station on May 3, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Ted Cruz suspends presidential campaign
Republican U.S. presidential candidate John Kasich eats a pickle at PJ Bernstein's Deli Restaurant in New York City, April 16, 2016.
Kasich suspends campaign, making Trump presumptive GOP nominee

Trump, of course, has capitalized on free publicity. His contentious policy proposals and remarks have garnered considerable attention on traditional and social media, often dominating news coverage.

From proposing a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico to accusing Clinton of playing the "woman card," Trump has grabbed eyeballs and ire throughout the election without burning cash.

UPDATE: This story was updated to include news of John Kasich suspending his campaign.