Today is the deadline for federal candidates -- all the folks running for the White House and Congress in 2020 -- to disclose the details of their campaign fundraising and spending during the April-to-June fundraising quarter.
Based on the numbers released by campaigns so far, three big story lines emerge:
The power of incumbency
President Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee are leaving nothing to chance. Trump, who filed for re-election the day he was sworn into office in January 2017, has a big head start in the money chase. Trump, the RNC and their joint fundraising committees raised a combined $105 million in the second quarter and claimed a $100 million war chest of remaining money in the bank. That’s money they can spend now to promote Trump while two dozen Democrats slug it out for the nomination.
After swearing off help from big donors in his first campaign, Trump 2.0 is chasing the big cash and has even pulled together a group of elite fundraisers who can “bundle” money for his re-election.
Democratic enthusiasm remains high
Sure, the $105 million raised by Team Trump is high. But consider this: The five fundraising leaders among Democrats collected nearly $100 million during the second fundraising quarter -- a sign of early enthusiasm among Democratic donors.
ActBlue, the online fundraising platform for Democratic candidates and groups, said it processed nearly 400,000 contributions on June 30, the last year of the fundraising quarter. That marked record number of contributions in a single day for the platform. In all, ActBlue donors gave $100 million in the month of June alone.
“Folks are very excited about the historically diverse field we have and how empowered they feel about the process,” ActBlue director Erin Hill told CNN in a recent interview.
There’s a leading pack
Five candidates lead fundraising so far:
- South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at $24.8 million (including $832,000 earmarked for the general election)
- Former Vice President Joe Biden at $21.5 million
- Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at $19.1 million
- Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders at $18 million
- California Sen. Kamala Harris, who raised less than $12 million
The big hauls show the presidential election “will be even more intensely fought” than previous White House battles, said Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks political money.