By Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch
Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders is polling behind rivals Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren, but he ranked No. 1 in third-quarter fundraising, bringing in $25.3 million during the period.
Biden’s campaign said he raised $15.2 million for the fourth-biggest haul, while Warren was a close second to Sanders with $24.6 million. Pete Buttigieg was third with a Q3 total of $19.1 million, even as he significantly trails Biden, Warren and Sanders in polls.
With the third quarter having ended on Sept. 30, presidential campaigns have been revealing their fundraising totals for the period, ahead of a Tuesday deadline by which figures must be disclosed to the Federal Election Commission. The six top candidates, according to the latest polls, all had provided their figures by Oct. 4. In a RealClearPolitics average of polls as of Monday, Biden has support of 27.8%, ahead of Warren at 26%, Sanders at 15.2%, Buttigieg at 5%, California Sen. Kamala Harris at 4.5% and entrepreneur Andrew Yang at 2.7%.
Harris joined Sanders and Buttigieg in disclosing a Q3 total on Oct. 1, saying she scored $11.6 million. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey also posted his haul for the period on Oct. 1, reporting that he raised $6 million, with a third of that money coming in the quarter’s last 10 days after he warned supporters that he might have to drop out of the race for financial reasons. Yang revealed his quarterly haul on Oct. 2, saying his campaign brought in $10 million .
“Media elites and professional pundits have tried repeatedly to dismiss this campaign, and yet working-class Americans keep saying loudly and clearly that they want a political revolution,” said the manager of the Sanders campaign, Faiz Shakir, in a news release on the morning of Oct. 1.
“The question any campaign faces at this point is whether or not you have the resources to compete in early states and sustain your efforts beyond. Our campaign unequivocally does and builds on our strength each week,” said Greg Schultz, Biden’s campaign manager, in a news release on Oct. 3.
In the second quarter, Buttigieg got $24.8 million in donations to lead the fundraising among the 2020 Democrats for that period.
On the GOP side, President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee together raised $125 million in Q3, said Brad Parscale, the president’s campaign manager, in a tweet on Oct. 1 . After the Democrats pick a presidential nominee next year, he or she will be able to jointly raise money with the Democratic National Committee and may be able to rely on raking in more than $2,800 per donor.
A couple of Democratic contenders — Booker and former Housing and Urban Development chief Julián Castro — cautioned potential donors in late September that the end of their campaigns could be nearing. But then Booker said that he was staying in the 2020 race after achieving a fundraising goal tied to the end of the third quarter. He had aimed to raise $1.7 million over Q3’s last 10 days and managed to bring in $2.2 million.
“There’s a viable path forward, so I’m staying in this race because I know we can win it,” tweeted Booker , who is tied for eighth among the 2020 Democrats in the latest RealClearPolitics average of polls, with 1.3% support.
The campaign manager for Castro, who ranks tenth in the average of polls, later played down his warning as “unfortunately hyperbolic writing in a fundraising email.”
The third quarter’s final days were highlighted by a flurry of fundraising around House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into Trump. The inquiry announced on Sept. 24 by House Democrats was triggered by reports that the president pressed Ukraine’s president to investigate Biden and his son.
Trump’s campaign said it and the Republican National Committee raised $5 million in the 24 hours following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s launch of the inquiry, with supporters contributing to an “Impeachment Defense Task Force.” The GOP also has emphasized Biden’s link to the impeachment drama.
Democratic campaigns’ fundraising requests tied to the impeachment effort included one from Harris, who asked for money to fight back amid “attacks on anyone who supports impeachment.” In addition, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke asked for donations in an email that stressed that he has supported impeachment since 2017. O’Rourke, who is seventh the average of polls, on Friday disclosed that he raised $4.5 million in Q3 .
The total number of the Democratic Party’s White House hopefuls remains at a still-high level of 19, even after a handful of politicians have dropped out of the race for the 2020 nomination as qualification requirements for debates get tougher. A dozen of the contenders are due to debate Tuesday night in Ohio, with Sanders facing questions about his ability to go the distance in the race as he recovers from a heart attack suffered on the night of Oct. 1.
To make the November debate, Democratic candidates will have to attract at least 165,000 unique donors, as well as hit 3% support in at least four national or early state polls — or 5% in two early state polls. That’s up from the previously required 130,000 donors and 2% support.
This is an updated version of a report first published on Sept. 30, 2019.