With an average donation size of $18.53, the feat that Sen. Bernie Sanders pulled off in the fourth quarter of 2019 in terms of fundraising is quite impressive. At first, it looked like Mayor Pete Buttigieg would perhaps hold the top spot with his $24.7 million haul, but that amount pails in comparison to Bernie’s $34.5 million over the past three months. As far as cash on hand, Sanders is well-positioned heading into the Iowa Caucuses next month. In total, Bernie brought in over $97 million in 2019 and still has $88 million remaining cash on hand.

As it stands, Bernie’s the front runner in terms of the money race and no other candidate, so far, has come close:

Bernie Sanders, a grassroots juggernaut, once again showed his prolific fundraising prowess in the last quarter of 2019 by pulling in a massive $34.5 million haul over three months, which is more than any other Democrat in a single quarter this cycle, his campaign announced Thursday.

Sanders’ sum, from more than 1.8 million donations, puts the senator’s total 2019 fundraising at more than $96 million raised since his campaign launched in February — and positions his campaign for a deep-pocketed, early state push for the weeks leading into the early primaries and caucuses.

“Bernie Sanders is closing the year with the most donations of any candidate in history at this point in a presidential campaign,” Sanders’ campaign manager Faiz Shakir said in a statement.

Pete Buttigieg has proven to be a worthy fundraising pro despite his lack of national campaign experience before his presidential run. His total for 2019 is just over $76 million with a substantial war chest remaining.

Buttigieg’s average donation size was $33 which speaks to his focus on high-dollar fundraising compared to Bernie’s grassroots small-dollar money bombs.

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard also had a record quarter despite her absence from the debate stage in December. Her $3.4 million is not a groundbreaking amount compared to other campaigns, but it’s the highest quarterly total she put up for 2019.

Andrew Yang surprises with big numbers

Yang managed to haul in $16.5 million in the fourth quarter which continues to drive his campaign growth and demonstrate his fundraising prowess using social media and a stable of dedicated supporters. His campaign has continued to grow in terms of notoriety, but his poll numbers have remained stalled in the low single digits nationally and Iowa. However, with plenty of cash moving forward, Yang can afford to keep going into Iowa and beyond.

The other fundraising winner? Donald Trump

The President has seen his fundraising for the 2020 campaign continue to grow, which is somewhat expected given his status as the incumbent with no serious competition in a Republican primary. Similar to 2011-2012, when President Obama and the DNC raised tens of millions of dollars while Republicans fought each other in a primary, President Trump is hauling in huge amounts for a war chest while Democrats must spend their resources fighting in a primary. The President will end the year with $102 million cash on hand with campaign manager Brad Parscale crediting the recent influx over December as a result of the House impeachment vote. It doesn’t go without noting, however, that Bernie Sanders’ 2019 total is not too far off from President Trump’s.

What about Biden and Warren?

We have yet to hear from the campaigns of Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren, both of which were also slightly behind their competitors last quarter in terms of timeliness.

Biden fell into some rough patches and generally has not proven to be a blockbuster fundraiser in 2019-2020. His numbers are acceptable, but by no means mindblowing when compared to other “front runners” historically. By cash on hand alone, Biden isn’t in the greatest position heading into Iowa.

Warren has seen some big numbers over 2019, but her fundraising began to slow in the third quarter, some of which may be due to her shunning of high-dollar fundraisers where campaigns can collect millions of dollars in a single night. Instead, Warren has been relying on smaller individual donations which have tamped down her totals. However, as Bernie Sanders has demonstrated, with an average donation of just $18, some eyepopping totals can be amassed by tapping a deep bench of motivated long-time and first-time supporters which can outpace big-time fundraising events.

We will update again when Biden and Warren release their numbers.


Former vice president Joe Biden has released his numbers and while they’re an improvement over the third quarter, his campaign is still lagging behind expectations:

Joseph R. Biden Jr. said on Thursday that he had raised $22.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, a significant improvement from his lackluster fund-raising performance in the previous three months.

Mr. Biden’s total, for the period from October through December, far exceeded the $15.7 million that he had raised during the third quarter. It was his largest quarterly haul so far, exceeding the $22 million he brought in during the second quarter.

Falling behind even Buttigieg speaks to Biden’s inability to fully capitalize on the perception of his front runner status. That could partially be due to the fact that when looking at the polls and other levels of engagement, Biden is trailing his competitors despite leading nationally. His numbers aren’t horrible, and he’s got plenty of cash on hand and plenty of donors to tap, but he’s being put to shame by Sanders and Buttigieg.

Still awaiting fundraising numbers from Elizabeth Warren.