South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg may still be in fourth place nationally going into the 2020 Democratic primaries, but he’s well ahead of much of the field in fundraising according to his campaign’s fourth quarter financial disclosures.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Buttigieg, who has been enjoying a packed schedule of high-dollar fundraisers, raked in a whopping $24.7 million in the final quarter of 2019, nearly $10 million more than he raised in Q3, per his campaign’s FEC filings.
“Mr. Buttigieg’s campaign said more than 733,000 people have made a total of two million donations. The average contribution amount was $38, the campaign said,” according to the WSJ. “Mr. Buttigieg has aggressively pursued donors who can give the legal maximum of $2,800, a fundraising style like Mr. Biden’s and most previous major presidential candidates.”
The haul brings Buttigieg’s fundraising total to around $75 million, easily among the best in the field of 2020 Democratic presidential contenders. It also demonstrates Buttigieg’s power with major Democratic donors, who are being shut out of other campaigns. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have both sworn off taking checks from “billionaires” and corporations, and Warren, at least, has said she will not host or attend major fundraisers — a privilege she enjoys because she is still dipping into an immense war chest built in anticipation of her next Senate run.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is also likely to have had a good quarter, having told reporters back in early December that his campaign had crossed the $20 million fundraising mark. What remains to be see is whether Biden’s campaign has made its way back into the black after spending its way into the red in Q3, splashing out on private jets, luxury hotel rooms, and fancy meals. Biden has been traveling on a bus these last several weeks — the “No Malarkey” tour — to reinforce his blue collar image in the wake of his campaign’s spending disclosures.
The field’s biggest loser may be Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
Warren hasn’t released numbers for Q3, but according to CNBC, the Warren campaign sent out a desperate fundraising email to supporters last week claiming to have raised only $17 million in Q4 so far — a shocking 30% drop.
“Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign told supporters in an email on Friday that, so far, it has raised just over $17 million in the fourth quarter, a significant drop from her fundraising haul during the third quarter,” the financial news outlet reported last week. “The memo asks backers to step up giving to the campaign.”
“So far this quarter, we’ve raised a little over $17 million,” the email read. “That’s a good chunk behind where we were at this time last quarter.”
That corresponds to Warren’s drop in the polls. She was once comfortably in second behind Biden both nationally and in early primary states and, for a while, was challenging the common understanding that Biden would be the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee. But after a tough run in Iowa, where she was asked, regularly, how she plans to pay for her costly plans to expand Medicare, the social safety net, and student loan forgivness, she’s barely clinging to third.