A good guide to how much 2020 Democratic primary candidates raised in the first quarter of 2019 comes from their willingness to talk about it. As soon as the quarter ended, several candidates quickly announced large hauls. Over the next week, a few more offered more modest updates. On Monday, the most recent addition: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who raised $5.2 million. Not terrible for the field, really, but not great.
One of the first to report what he has brought in was Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). Sanders raised $18.2 million, easily more than the runners-up: Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), who brought in $12 million, and former congressman Beto O’Rourke (D-Tex.), who raised $9.4 million. They announced quickly, too.
You’ll notice, too, how much South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg raised: $7 million, a remarkable total for a relatively unknown candidate. (Those without any money indicated have not yet publicly reported what they raised. We’ll update this chart as those reports come in.)
As O’Rourke’s team was quick to note, he entered the race much later than other candidates and, therefore, started raising money later. If you look at how much was raised by each day of a candidacy, O’Rourke narrowly outraised Sanders.
On this metric, Buttigieg’s total is more in line with Klobuchar. Klobuchar, like Sanders, also has money she had raised for her Senate race that she can spend on her primary effort.
Several of the leading fundraisers released information that gives a little more insight into how they were doing. Sanders, for example, had more than half a million individual donors, far more than the 160,000 who gave to Buttigieg and the 138,000 who gave to Harris.
Candidates also like to talk about how many individual contributions they received and the average individual contribution. Those numbers are often used to highlight how many small donors the candidates have, a metric that can provide some insight into how much more they might raise. After all, with a cap on contributions from individuals, candidates would rather have 1,000 people who gave $5 than five who gave $1,000 — because there’s a lot more room to grow with those 1,000 people. (This was a metric on which Sanders performed well in 2016.)
Let’s look instead at the average contribution per donor made to each candidate, which gets at that figure a little more clearly.
Here, too, Sanders is apparently faring well, with an average of about $35 per donor. Harris, by contrast, is averaging about $87 per donor.
This is a level of detail that probably doesn’t mean a whole lot at this point, to be fair. There is another metric that’s gained some attention, though. In 2008, the last time there was a relatively large Democratic field, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama each raised at least $25 million in the first quarter, setting up a fierce protracted battle between the two over the course of that year.
The total fundraising reported by all of this year’s candidates so far totals about $58.5 million.