WASHINGTON >> Several Democratic presidential candidates have released fundraising totals for the first quarter of 2019, offering an early measure of how they’re faring on the campaign circuit.
Full details won’t be available until campaigns file detailed disclosures with the Federal Election Commission ahead of the April 15 deadline. Here are some developments so far:
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders says his campaign has raised $18.2 million in the 41 days since he launched his Democratic presidential bid — without holding any conventional fundraising events.
He has $28 million cash on hand, picking up where he left off four years ago in his ultimately unsuccessful bid for the party’s presidential nomination.
Sanders’ total could ultimately top all Democratic candidates, and it shows that the senator maintains a wide base following his 2016 bid. His campaign says he has about 525,000 individual donors who chipped in 900,000 contributions, with 88 percent of his total haul coming from small donors who gave $200 or less.
Campaign manager Faiz Shakir said the average contribution was $20 and that about 20 percent of the donors are new.
Some other key measures the campaign offered: Sanders’ donor list includes nearly 100,000 registered independents and 20,000 registered Republicans; a majority of donors are under 40 years old.
And perhaps the most glaring number for Sanders’ opponents: 99.99 percent of his contributors have not given the maximum $2,800 — meaning they can contribute again.
The California senator’s campaign says it collected $12 million from more than 218,000 individual contributions. Harris is running both an aggressive digital fundraising campaign targeting smaller donors, but also is sticking the tried-and-true fundraising circuit in which she collects larger checks from donors.
The Harris campaign said 98% of her contributions were under $100. They’ve not yet detailed what percentage of her overall collections came from those smaller donors.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, can’t match Sanders or Harris, but his $7 million haul may be the most impressive of anyone. And he hasn’t even officially announced his candidacy, instead raising money for his exploratory committee.
It shows that the 37-year-old longshot is resonating as he travels to early nominating states. It also essentially guarantees that he will qualify for the Democratic National Committee’s June and July debates. For the first time, party officials have set grassroots fundraising thresholds as part of the qualifications for the initial debate stages.
The debates will be a prime opportunity for underdogs like Buttigieg to gain name recognition and stature alongside perceived front-runners like Sanders, Harris and others.
Buttigieg said the first quarter results were “way ahead” of the campaign’s original goals or what people thought he could do. He said 158,550 donors contributed to the effort, with an average contribution of about $36. Of the $7 million raised, 64 percent came from people donating $200 or less.
“This is a great look for our first quarter,” he told supporters at a Monday event.