As a candidate in 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama was a prolific fundraiser. As a first-term president running for reelection, he was an even better fundraiser, setting records with his mindblowing totals. Yet with all that, President Trump and the RNC have doubled the total President Obama and the DNC raised at this point in the 2011 presidential campaign.
The third quarter of 2019 ended on Monday so candidates have begun releasing their numbers, many with the hope that impressive digits will spurn more support and draw attention to their campaigns. We’ll break down some of the numbers from the 2020 Democratic candidates as well, but the big numbers, as would be expected at this point in the race, are on the incumbent’s side right now:
The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee took in a huge haul in the third quarter, which ended Monday — a combined $125 million.
This means that this year alone, they’ve raised more than $300 million — double the total that then-President Obama and the Democratic Party had raised at this point in 2011 on Obama’s way to a successful reelection bid.
But there’s a big difference between now and 2011 — President Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry. The campaign claims that this move by House Democrats helped supercharge Trump’s fundraising.
At this point in the Democratic primary, campaigns are working by themselves to raise money. President Trump, on the other hand, has the advantage of his own 2020 reelection campaign coupled with the fundraising machine of the Republican National Committee to vacuum up as much money as possible from GOP donors. The eventual Democratic nominee will have that luxury next year after the primaries.
As the story notes, President Obama was popular among a wide swath of the electorate and had a knack for amassing huge fundraising totals. He gobbled up the big money and small, from corporations and individuals. President Trump hasn’t gotten much love from corporate America, but his individual donations are through the roof.
Just how helpful was the impeachment announcement for Trump’s third quarter fundraising numbers? Brad Parscale, Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, laid it out on twitter just days after Speaker Pelosi announced the impeachment inquiry:
Wow! 50,000 new donors in two days… and growing. @realDonaldTrump supporters are showing up big league.
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) September 27, 2019
So far, Trump and the RNC have amassed some $300 million toward a 2020 war chest for reelection, and he’s going to need every penny of it. All of that, however, would become moot if the impeachment inquiry turns into an impeachment vote which turns into a presidency hanging in the balance, but we’re a long way from that and the Republican-controlled Senate is a back-stop against Trump being removed from office – for now. There are some cracks in the Republican wall starting to form depending on where you look.
Despite the impeachment inquiry tossing chaos into the race, some Democrats sounded an alarm over Trump’s numbers and what they mean for next year:
This should be a giant wake up call. Trump is going to have more resources to deploy earlier and more aggressively than any candidate in history. https://t.co/YzobiwOZ4x
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) October 1, 2019
What about the 2020 Democratic candidates? We don’t have all the numbers yet, but of the numbers we do have, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is rolling in the dough and flaunting it while we await numbers from Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden:
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders announced his campaign raised $25.3 million in the third quarter, the most of any 2020 Democratic presidential candidate in a quarter to date. According to the campaign, September was its single best month of fundraising in the 2020 election cycle thus far.
The cash raised in the third quarter comes from 1.4 million donations. The average donation was $18.07. His campaign says it did transfer $2.6 million in the third quarter, but that is not included in the $25 million total.
According to the campaign, “teacher” was the most common occupation listed for a person donating to Sanders in the third quarter. The three most common employers were Starbucks, Amazon and Walmart.
Since his campaign launched in February, Sanders has raised $61.5 million from a total of 3.3 million individual donations.
Bernie was a strong fundraiser in 2016 as well. He was often able to organize impromptu “moneybombs” and raise a few million dollars in 24 hours, or less, as a sort of “shock and awe” during his battle with Hillary Clinton. It’s no surprise his fervent and ardent donor base continues to keep him among the top in terms of campaign cash.
Among the rest of the field, here are the other numbers we have:
Pete Buttigieg: $19.1 million
Kamala Harris: $11.6 million
Cory Booker: $6 million
As noted, there have been no numbers yet from Elizabeth Warren or Joe Biden which is probably a sign that they’re counting up every possible dollar they can find to put up the largest number they can muster.
If you look at the totals, they line up with the RealClearPolitics polling average, almost. We’re missing numbers from Andrew Yang who sits in the sixth place spot ahead of Cory Booker in the polls, but polling support correlates these fundraising numbers pretty closely.
The totals from Biden and Warren could drop any time and we’ll have a complete report on how the Democratic candidates managed over the past three months when we have a move complete picture.