1. Bloomberg donated nearly $1 billion to his three-month campaign.
By the time multibillionaire Mike Bloomberg suspended his self-funded campaign after three months, we knew he had spent at least $510 million. But a new filing shows Bloomberg gave $935.3 million of his own money to his short-lived White House bid.
Of that donation, his campaign spent at least $876 million, and more than half of that amount — $467 million — was spent in February alone, the filing shows. Bloomberg, who ran an ad-focused campaign aimed at Super Tuesday states, spent $360 million in ads last month.
Bloomberg dropped out on March 4, after faring poorly on Super Tuesday. On Friday, he donated $18 million of his leftover campaign money to the Democratic National Committee, taking advantage of a campaign finance loophole thanks to his wealth.
2. One megadonor mostly funded the pro-Warren super PAC.
It turns out that one Silicon Valley megadonor plowed $14.6 million into a super PAC that boosted Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as she struggled financially toward the tail end of her candidacy.
The donor was Karla Jurvetson, a physician and one of Warren’s longtime allies. Her donation made up the vast majority of the $15.1 million the Persist PAC pulled in just 11 days in February.
Warren, a central tenet of whose campaign was about the corrupting power of money and who initially rejected the help of super PACs, dramatically reversed her stance after the group formed. Super PACs raise and spend unlimited amounts of money and act independently of the campaigns.
Jurvetson, one of the biggest Democratic donors, was tied to a so-called dark money nonprofit that ran a pro-Warren ad in Iowa. The group, Women. Vote, does not disclose its donors. Jurvetson also helped Warren access the Democratic voter file by donating to the Democratic National Committee — a move that was at odds with Warren’s pledge not to lean on wealthy donors during her presidential bid.
3. Biden’s small-dollar fundraising improved a lot in February.
Former vice president Joe Biden had failed to gain traction among small-dollar donors throughout the campaign, especially compared to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and President Trump, both of whom are prolific small-dollar fundraisers.
But in February, Biden’s small-dollar fundraising greatly improved: For the first time, more than 45 percent of his donations came from those giving $200 or less. This is comparable to the small-dollar share that Trump tends to draw every month.
Biden posted his best month in February, drawing $18 million overall even as he performed poorly in three of the four primary contests that month.
Meanwhile, the pro-Biden super PAC, Unite the Country, drew $4.2 million that month, comprising nearly half of the money it has raised so far in the campaign. Among the biggest donors to the super PAC last month were LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman ($1 million) and Yaron Minsky with Jane Street, a stock-exchange trading firm ($1 million).
4. Sanders’s fundraising ballooned, but his voting base did not.
Sanders posted an eye-popping $48 million last month, with just over half of that coming from small-dollar donations.
But despite his sustained strength among small-dollar donors, often seen as a proxy for grass roots support, that has not translated to delegates.
It’s yet another sign that money is just one part of the equation for electoral success. Despite being the standout fundraiser of the Democratic presidential primaries so far, Sanders faces a narrower path to the Democratic nomination than he did four years ago.
5. Trump and the GOP continue to outstrip Democrats.
President Trump has a fundraising advantage, as the incumbent who began raising reelection money far earlier than any of his predecessors.
Last month, the GOP continued to gain fundraising strength as the Democratic candidates faced their first four primary contests. The RNC raised $22.7 million in February. The Trump campaign and two affiliated fundraising committees together raised more than $86 million in February, according to Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale.
Of course, this was before the coronavirus became a global pandemic, upending the way campaigns raise and spend their money.
The Democratic National Committee raised $11.8 million last month, and brought in another $852,000 through the Democratic Grassroots Victory Fund, an affiliated fundraising committee.
DNC officials said they saw a surge in donations in March, as the moderate base consolidated around Biden’s candidacy, and said they expect to post the party’s best fundraising month of the cycle in March.