Still, Warren’s fourth-quarter total represented a decrease for her. In the third quarter — a notoriously difficult period for fundraising because of the summer lull — Warren had raised nearly a whopping $25 million, propelling her ahead of the pack with a low-dollar online fundraising program that appeared to match that of Democratic-nomination rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
But this quarter, Warren struggled to maintain that pace, while most of the other candidates who released figures gained or sustained momentum.
Just days before the Dec. 31 fundraising deadline, the Warren campaign took the rare step of revealing it had raised only $17 million up to that point — “a good chunk behind where we were at this time last quarter” — and set a goal of $20 million for the quarter.
The entreaty prompted a “surge” of donations, including more than $1.5 million on the last day of the year, the campaign’s “best fundraising day to date,” Lau told supporters.
By comparison, Sanders raised $34.5 million in the fourth quarter, expanding his donor base by drawing in 300,000 new donors, his campaign said. Former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg and former vice president Joe Biden drew in more than Warren in the fourth quarter, at $24.7 million and $22.7 million, respectively.
Also on Friday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota announced she raised $11.4 million in the fourth quarter — her best fundraising quarter yet that drew in more than double the amount she raised in the previous period.
Klobuchar’s campaign saw an increase in online donations in the final quarter of 2019, coinciding with her debate performances during those months, campaign manager Justin Buoen said in a statement.
Businessman Andrew Yang reported raising $16.5 million in the same period, a big jump from his previous quarter. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) said she raised $3.4 million, while Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) on Friday announced he had raised $6.6 million — about $600,000 more than he did in the previous quarter. His campaign said more than half of his donations in the fourth quarter came from new donors who gave money online to support his campaign.
Warren, like Sanders, has rejected the traditional fundraising method of holding private, high-dollar fundraisers with wealthy donors. She built a strong online fundraising program, but the strength of Sanders’s campaign overshadowed her gains in the final months of the year.
During that period, Warren attacked Buttigieg for his reliance on high-dollar fundraising — but faced criticism, including from the former mayor on the latest debate stage, about her history on the high-dollar fundraising circuit as a Senate candidate.
In its email to supporters Friday, Warren’s campaign once again nodded at her vow to swear off high-dollar and closed-door fundraisers.
“Elizabeth didn’t host any private events to raise money from wealthy donors behind closed doors. She didn’t take any money from Washington lobbyists or PACs,” Lau told supporters Friday. “And we still hit our goal.”
Candidates have until Jan. 31 to file fundraising reports with the Federal Election Commission, but those with impressive figures typically share their totals soon after a quarter ends.