(WASHINGTON) — On the heels of the first Democratic debates last week, the 2020 presidential candidates are releasing their fundraising numbers for the second quarter of the year. This is one of the earlier tests of viability for the campaigns while the now 24 contenders are largely distancing themselves from PAC money.
These fundraising totals will also provide a more comprehensive snapshot of the head-to-head competition between the candidates as they compete for donors in a historically crowded field — and ultimately against the fundraising powerhouses of the Donald Trump campaign and Republican National Committee.
As the Democrats showcase the prowess of their grassroots support, this is the first time almost all the candidates will report fundraising numbers, including the polling front-runner, former Vice President Joe Biden.
The second quarter spanned the months of April, May and June, ending days after 20 candidates took the stages in Miami over two consecutive nights of debates, giving several high-performing candidates a much needed boost.
While candidates are not required by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to report their fundraising numbers for the second quarter of 2019 until July 15, top contenders are often eager to release the initial numbers and the number of individuals that donated to their campaigns to show how well-resourced they will be in the early stages of the competitive race.
ABC News will continue to update this story as more campaigns release details on their fundraising numbers.
Pete Buttigieg sets high fundraising bar in first 24 hours after close of second quarter
The little-known mayor from South Bend, Indiana, who first launched an exploratory committee in January to little fanfare before kicking off his official campaign in April amid his rising prominence, posted another impressive quarter, signaling the strength of his candidacy in the crowded field.
Buttigieg, the first White House contender to announce his fundraising numbers for the quarter, raised an eye-popping $24.8 million from 284,000 donors.
The average donation, the campaign reports, was $47.42. In total, Buttigieg has received over 400,000 donations from all 57 states and territories. The campaign also reported $22.6 million cash on hand, priming them for a more competitive third quarter.
In an indication of his first-in-class showing, Buttigieg raised more than triple what he brought in during the first three months of the year. In the first quarter, he raised $7 million, with an average donation of $36.35 from 158,550 donors.
His second quarter haul will likely be among the largest reported by any of the Democratic candidates for the second quarter.
Bernie Sanders matches first quarter haul, underpinned by his grassroots support
Sanders trailed behind Buttigieg, raising $18 million in the second quarter from about a million individual contributions, the campaign announced Tuesday.
The Vermont senator entered the contest with a pre-existing and active donor base, and 99.3% of their donations were $100 or less. The average donation was $18, according to the campaign, and a campaign staffer told ABC News that 46% of the second quarter donors were new contributors.
The campaign also transferred $6 million from prior accounts, bringing their total to $24 million, Sanders’ campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, notes. Shakir also said he estimates the campaign to report nearly $30 million cash on hand.
This marks a different status for Sanders from last quarter — when he led the pack of Democratic contenders with an $18.2 million haul from 525,000 individual contributors after launching his campaign Feb. 19 — and from 2015 — when he brought in a notable $13.7 million, as reported in July 2015, after launching his insurgent campaign against Hillary Clinton on April 30.
On a call with reporters Tuesday, senior adviser Jeff Weaver said the campaign is not concerned about its fundraising falling behind because they have name recognition and because they believe candidates relying on high-dollar fundraisers will eventually hit a walll.
“Many of these candidates are over-reliant on these $2800 checks that are coming in and those $2800 checks….That’s a one time donation, and they have to go out and look for another $2800 donor,” Weaver said.
President Donald Trump looms in the distance — and out-front with staggering haul
President Trump’s campaign on Tuesday announced it raised $54 million from April through June. This includes money raised through the president’s campaign as well as his joint fundraising committees with the Republican National Committee.
In total, the Trump campaign and the RNC raised a whopping $105 million in the second quarter of this year, including nearly $25 million the two entities raised in 24 hours after the president officially announced his re-election bid last month.
By comparison, former President Barack Obama’s second presidential campaign raised $46.3 million and the Democratic National Party raised more than $30 million during the second quarter of 2011, according to disclosure reports filed to the Federal Election Commission.
The Trump campaign and Republican party committee will go into the second half of 2019 with about $100 million in the war chest. The Democrats will clearly have to scramble to catch up once they sort out their 20-something-person primary field — who are all currently fundraising without the help of the party committee, unlike the president.
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