Biden’s campaign, the Democratic National Committee and their affiliated fundraising committees raised $80.8 million in May, in Biden’s first full month as the presumptive Democratic nominee, according to figures released this week by the campaign. Biden’s fundraising picked up as he rose in polls against Trump in May, including in some key swing states.
Meanwhile, the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and their affiliated fundraising committees raised $74 million, the RNC said Saturday.
Both the Trump and Biden campaigns outpaced the $60 million raised by President Barack Obama and his reelection committees in May 2012, which was Obama’s best month at that point in the campaign.
Obama is expected to host a virtual fundraiser for Biden next week, the first time that the former president will host an event for his former vice president’s 2020 bid for the White House.
In May, Biden dramatically expanded his fundraising capability to compete with Trump’s big-money machine, through an agreement signed by Biden Victory Fund, a committee that raises money with the DNC.
Since then, Biden has kept to an aggressive fundraising schedule, appearing at virtual events multiple times a week. High-profile fundraising surrogates began holding events for the joint fundraising committee in May. Among them was former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who collected $2 million during the event late last month.
Clinton has been making appeals to her extensive donor network, bringing some of her most loyal contributors onboard, according to people familiar with her fundraising who spoke the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.
“She’s telling all of her supporters to get behind Biden,” one person said. “She’s telling people, ‘You really worked your heart out for me, but I need you to double it for Biden.’ ”
Biden’s former Democratic rivals also have raised money for him. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) headlined a virtual fundraiser this week that raised $6 million for Biden’s campaign, and a fundraiser featuring Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.) collected $3.5 million, according to the campaign.
In contrast, Trump and his reelection committees relied on his robust online fundraising machine to generate donations in May. Trump’s in-person fundraising events were halted after coronavirus restrictions went into place in March, and he had not appeared at virtual or in-person fundraising events through May. Trump resumed in-person fundraising this month.
Trump, who has been raising money for his reelection since he became president, has raised $355 million so far in 2020, according to the new figures. In comparison, Obama and his entities had raised about $231 million in the first five months of 2012.
Trump had his best fundraising day on June 14, when the reelection committees raised $14 million online to celebrate the president’s birthday, RNC officials said. The average donation on that day was $46, they said.
“President Trump’s consistent leadership and unprecedented actions during this challenging time has undoubtedly resonated with the American people,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. “Support across the country continues to pour in, helping us to build an unparalleled operation that will deliver victories up and down the ballot in November.”
Trump appeared at a campaign rally Saturday in Tulsa, his first rally since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. As supporters filled downtown streets in Tulsa in anticipation of his rally, protesters gathered to express their objections to his decision to hold an indoor event for thousands of people in a city where coronavirus cases are spiking.
More than half of Biden’s donors in May gave for the first time, and the number of online donors tripled since February, the Biden campaign said. More than 1.5 million new donors have contributed to the campaign in the past few weeks, campaign officials said.
“I understand what these dollars mean. When facing uncertainty and recession, you chose to back me. I will never forget that,” Biden wrote in an email to supporters this week announcing his fundraising figures.
“I’m in awe of this sum of money. Just a few months ago, people were ready to write this campaign off,” Biden wrote.
After a dip in fundraising in April after coronavirus restrictions halted many groups’ fundraising activities, the pro-Biden super PACs pulled in millions of dollars again in May, new filings show.
The main pro-Biden super PAC, Priorities USA Action, raised $7.5 million in May, more than double the amount the group raised the previous month. Top donors to the group last month were hedge fund manager and major Democratic donor James Simons ($2 million), hedge fund manager David E. Shaw ($500,000) and investor John A. Pritzker ($500,000).
Priorities USA Action and its two affiliated nonprofits raised over $38 million in donations and in commitments from donors who plan to give, officials said. The groups have raised $173 million for the 2019-2020 election cycle, they said. Money raised by nonprofits will not be made public until long after the November election.
Unite the Country, another pro-Biden super PAC, drew $1.4 million in May, nearly double the amount the group raised in April, filings show. The top donor last month was Connie Ballmer, who co-founded philanthropy group Ballmer Group with her husband Steve Ballmer, who is chairman of the LA Clippers basketball team. She gave $500,000.
The main pro-Trump super PAC America First Action raised $2.4 million in May, driven by a $1 million donation from the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom Robert Wood Johnson and another $1 million from Linda McMahon, the group’s chairwoman and former administrator of the Small Business Administration.
The America First operation raised $100 million this election cycle and had $55.5 million in cash on hand as of Friday, officials said. The groups reported having another $56 million in pledged donations from supporters.
Also in May, the Senate-aligned super PACs drew in millions of dollars.
Among top donors to the Democratic group Senate Majority PAC was Kathryn Murdoch, co-founder and president of the Quadrivium Foundation and daughter-in-law of Rupert Murdoch, the conservative media mogul. She gave $1 million.
On the Republican side, Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus ($2 million), investment banker Warren Stephens ($1 million) and Uline co-founder Elizabeth Uihlein ($500,000) gave to the Senate GOP-aligned Senate Leadership Fund last month.