Rick Santorum is logging miles in Iowa. Jeb Bush is putting in face time with New Hampshire's voters and New York's donors. And Bernie Sanders last week did what no other (official) presidential candidate had done yet: set foot in Wisconsin.
National Journal's Travel Tracker has compiled every campaign trip taken by 21 presidential contenders in 2015. That includes 16 Republicans—the 14 declared candidates plus soon-to-declare Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Ohio Gov. John Kasich—and five Democrats: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley, Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee.
Together, the 21 candidates have logged 953 days on 718 campaign trips in the past six-odd months. Unsurprisingly, they've put a huge focus on the states at the start of the primaries: Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. Just the first two on that list have hosted candidates for a total of 324 days campaigning thus far in 2015—almost one-third of all the field's campaign travel and more than the bottom 41 states combined.
By analyzing the candidates' itineraries, it's possible to see how candidates are hoping to push their way to the top of the ticket. Rick Santorum, who won the 2012 Iowa caucuses on a shoestring budget and with a shoe-leather campaign, has spent 20 days in Iowa and 13 days in South Carolina. That's more than any other candidate has spent in either state. But he has been to New Hampshire only once. Why? Santorum has a long history as a social conservative, and that carries more currency among Iowa and South Carolina Republicans than it does in New Hampshire. Mike Huckabee, another GOP candidate with social-conservative credentials, has been similarly scarce in New Hampshire, visiting only once so far this year.
Jeb Bush, meanwhile, is criss-crossing the country, and has logged more recorded trips than anyone else. His top destinations have been New York—home to some of the country's biggest donors—and New Hampshire, where he's at the top of the polls. (Bush's travel totals may be a bit inflated relative to other candidates, however, because more of his travel schedule has been in the public eye).
South Carolina, the third state in the nominating calendar, rounds out the top three most-visited states, with 88 days worth of candidate campaigning, though that's only about half as much as Iowans saw. California, Florida, New York, and Texas—home to some of the nation's richest political patrons—make up the rest of the top seven states for candidate visits in the first half of the year.
Using data compiled from news articles, press releases, and original reporting, National Journal's Travel Tracker covers trips that declared or potential presidential candidates make outside their home states. For example, any events Bush or Marco Rubio held in Florida were not included. Additionally, activity in Washington, D.C., from any of the senators running for president was also left out of the data set.
Here are some of the other intriguing odds and ends from the candidates' travels:
1) Santorum and Huckabee may not be banking on New Hampshire, but former New York Gov. George Pataki seems to be. Pataki, an afterthought for most in the race, tops the field for campaign days in New Hampshire, with 17. He's followed by Chris Christie (16), Carly Fiorina (15), Rick Perry (11), and Rand Paul (10).
2) After Santorum, Huckabee and Rick Perry, who are staking much of their comeback bids on strong showings in Iowa, spent the most time of the presidential contenders in the state, with 17 campaign days each. Ted Cruz and Fiorina each spent 13 days there.
3) Perry spent 10 days in South Carolina through the first half of the year, more than any other Republican aside from Santorum. Huckabee is next with nine campaign days in the state. Ben Carson and Cruz each spent seven days there, while the more moderate John Kasich has been in the state, where conservative voters tend to dominate, for six days so far.
4) White House contenders from both parties spent only a combined 22 days in Nevada during the first six months of 2015. That places the first-in-the-West caucus state behind not only Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina in terms of candidate visits, but also California, Florida, New York, Texas, and Georgia. Bush and Paul led the way with four days each.
5) Candidates have logged a combined 210 days in California, Florida, New York, and Texas—nearly 22 percent of their overall travel time. They've spent 64 days in California alone, where Rubio (12) and Clinton (eight) lead the pack in candidate visits.
6) Texas and some of the other Southern counterparts planning to hold their nominating contests on the March 1 "SEC" primary day are also receiving plenty of attention. Presidential hopefuls spent 38 days in Texas, followed by Georgia (29), Tennessee (22), Virginia (15), Oklahoma (10), and Alabama (8).
7) Connecticut isn't traditional GOP territory, but three Republican hopefuls—Bush, Rubio, and Christie—are placing stock in its deep donor pockets. Bush and Christie have held fundraisers in the state, while Rubio headlined a state party fundraiser there in early June.
8) Every state received at least one visit from a presidential contender in the first six months of the year except for Alaska, Hawaii, and Wisconsin. It is not surprising to see the far-flung Alaska and Hawaii on that list, but for now, it appears Republicans don't want to be seen on Gov. Scott Walker's home turf either. Bernie Sanders became the first candidate to visit the state this year on July 1, when he held a rally in Madison.
9) Speaking of far-flung states, Kasich, who is set to officially enter the presidential race on July 21, is the only presidential prospect who visited Maine (where Bush's family owns a vacation home), Montana, North Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming in the first half of 2015, and one of only two who went to Idaho. Kasich made the trek to these states as part of a tour promoting a federal balanced budget amendment earlier this year.
This article is from the archive of our partner National Journal.
Adam Wollner is an analyst for National Journal Hotline. Previously, he covered politics as an intern for NPR and the Center for Public Integrity. A native Wisconsinite, Wollner graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013 with a bachelor degree in journalism and political science.
Kimberly Railey is an editorial fellow for National Journal Hotline. Prior to joining National Journal, she covered Congress at the Washington bureau of The Dallas Morning News. She has also written for The Boston Globe, USA TODAY, and The Christian Science Monitor. Originally from South Florida, she graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where she served as managing editor of The Daily Northwestern.