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Jeb Bush may have gotten the fewest votes, but he spent the most on Uber

Reuters/Robert Galbraith
Jeb! Rides! With! Uber!
  • Alison Griswold
By Alison Griswold


Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle have embraced Uber in the 2016 cycle, but none more so than Jeb Bush. When the former governor of Florida bowed out of the race in February after a disappointing performance in the South Carolina primary, his campaign had spent more than $42,000 on the ride-hailing service. That total climbed a little higher in the next month, to finish at $44,075.48—more than double the Uber spending of any other presidential candidate to date—according to campaign finance data compiled by the Sunlight Foundation from federal filings and analyzed by Quartz.

Behind Bush, the campaigns for Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders, and Ted Cruz all spent roughly the same amount on Uber, with expenditures of $22,364, $22, 353, and $21,409, respectively, according to filings through the end of May.

It’s hard not to appreciate the irony of Sanders’ place in that group. While Rubio has lauded Uber’s role in the US economy and called for politicians to stop regulating it, Sanders said last summer that he had ”serious problems” with the company. Cruz’s stance has been less explicit, as might be expected, though he did once compare his unconventional tactics in Washington to Uber’s “disruptive” brand of politics.

In addition to spending more than any other campaign on Uber, Jeb! 2016 also accounted for nine of the 10 biggest individual Uber expenditures reported by the candidates whose filings Quartz examined. For Bush, all of those expenditures were made this January, and many on the same day. Altogether, the Bush campaign reported spending $23,943.72 on Uber that month—more than half of its Uber expenditures for the entire election cycle, which began a year earlier.

Biggest individually reported Uber expenditures

CandidateUber expenditure

While all of Uber’s top-spending candidates have suspended their campaigns, the company is far from done with 2016. On Friday (July 8), Uber announced that it had partnered with the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia to offer special “Stars & Stripes” rides driven by exclusively by DNC volunteers to select convention attendees, delegates, and party leaders. Uber was in talks with the Republican National Convention to be an official partner there as well, but told Politico it was unable to finalize a deal. Uber’s normal service will be available in the Cleveland area throughout the RNC.

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