Democrats Have a Fundraising Problem

Field is lagging behind 2008 total
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 16, 2019 12:07 AM CDT
Democratic Fundraising Still Below 2008 Level
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during the We the People Membership Summit in Washington. Sanders is leading Democratic presidential candidates in the early money chase with more than $18 million in contributions during the first seven weeks of his candidacy.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Democratic presidential candidates raised about $75 million during the first quarter of the 2020 election, a lackluster sum spread out across more than a dozen campaigns that signals a drawn-out battle likely lies ahead. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders led the field by raising $18 million and California Sen. Kamala Harris came in second with $12 million. Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke came in third with $9.3 million, followed by South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who capitalized on a flurry of publicity to raise $7 million, the AP reports. The rest of the field of more than a dozen candidates raised $6 million or less apiece.

Fundraising figures submitted to the Federal Election Commission by Monday's deadline show Democratic candidates not only lag behind President Trump, who raised $30 million, but took in less than the party did during the same period in the 2008 election. That year eight candidates collectively raised over $80 million despite a maximum donation amount hundreds of dollars less than the current $2,800 cap. Part of the difficulty is many donors are staying on the sidelines, waiting for the field to thin. At the same time, low-dollar contributions from party's base, a source of money that helped Democrats retake the House last year, haven't made up the difference. Analysts say the situation could change after the first debate in June—or if Joe Biden enters the race and raises the expected "boatload of money."

(More Election 2020 stories.)

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