Capitol Report: Warren tops Biden in third-quarter fundraising, but both lag Sanders

Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden revealed late Thursday that his campaign raised $15.2 million in the third quarter, trailing the third quarter hauls of rivals Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg.

Sanders on Tuesday said he brought in $25.3 million in the period, while Buttigieg scored $19.1 million after the South Bend, Ind., mayor in the second quarter brought in the most money among the 2020 Democrats.

With the third quarter having ended on Monday, presidential campaigns are starting to reveal their fundraising totals for the period, ahead of an Oct. 15 deadline when figures must be disclosed to the Federal Election Commission.

California Sen. Kamala Harris joined Sanders and Buttigieg in disclosing a Q3 total on Tuesday, saying she scored $11.6 million. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker posted his haul for the period on Tuesday as well, 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. Entrepreneur Andrew Yang revealed his Q3 haul on Wednesday, saying his campaign brought in $10 million.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, ranked No. 2 in recent polls, had not released her Q3 figures as of Friday morning. In a RealClearPolitics average of polls, Biden has support of 26.2%, ahead of Warren at 24%, Sanders at 16.8%, Buttigieg at 5.5%, Harris at 4.8%, and Yang at 3.5%.

The Sanders campaign said it received 1.4 million donations in Q3, and the average contribution to the Vermont senator was $18.07. Buttigieg’s team said their average contribution was $32, as 182,000 new people donated in Q3 to bring their total number of donors so far in the race to 580,000.

“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 Tuesday.

The Sanders campaign said his overall total haul for the White House contest now stands at $61.5 million, while Buttigieg’s corresponding figure is $51 million. In the second quarter, Buttigieg got $24.8 million in donations to lead the fundraising for that period, but Sanders had raised the most overall in the 2020 race as of the end of the second quarter.

Related:Sanders cancels events after having two stents inserted to treat blocked artery

Buttigieg’s Q3 figures show that “in a crowded field, Pete continues to stand out as having the vision and leadership voters know we need to tackle the urgent problems facing our country,” said his campaign manager, Mike Schmuhl, in a news release. “It also positions us solidly as one of the top three fundraisers in this race. We will have the resources to go the full distance, and to win, the 2020 nominating contests.”

“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 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 Tuesday. 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 recent days that the end of their campaigns could be nearing. But then on Monday, 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 1.5% support.

The campaign manager for Castro, who is also eighth 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 President Donald Trump. The inquiry announced on Sept. 24 by House Democrats was triggered by reports that Trump 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.

Related:Trump campaign spent as much as $2 million on impeachment ads on Facebook

Democratic campaigns’ fundraising requests tied to the impeachment effort included one from former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who asked for donations in an email that stressed that he has supported impeachment since 2017. And Harris asked for money to fight back amid “attacks on anyone who supports impeachment.”

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. To make the November debate, Democratic candidates must have 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 needing 130,000 donors and 2% support.

This report was first published on Sept. 30, 2019.