Buttigieg — whose last day as mayor of South Bend, Ind., was Wednesday — is the first candidate to release his fundraising figures after the Dec. 31 quarterly deadline. 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.
It is unclear yet how much money Buttigieg’s campaign has left to spend in the final weeks before the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses and beyond, or how much money he drew from donors giving the maximum amount through private fundraisers — a point of contention in the Democratic primaries in recent weeks.
The Buttigieg campaign said Wednesday that it had received more than 2 million donations from more than 733,000 people in 2019, with 326,000 people giving in the final three months of the year, when his campaign gained steam in Iowa polls.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a leading fundraiser in the Democratic field who has built a massive financial operation fueled by low-dollar donors online, is also expected to post strong figures in the fourth quarter. The Sanders campaign said Wednesday that it had surpassed 5 million individual donations from people across the country, reaching a goal the campaign had set for the end of the quarter.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) announced last week that she had raised at least $17 million, asking her supporters to meet a goal of $20 million for the quarter.
The campaign of Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) announced Tuesday that he eclipsed his third-quarter haul of $6 million.
Buttigieg’s campaign said it spent the fourth quarter of 2019 hiring its field staff, expanding staff size to more than 500 people and setting up 65 field offices in the early-voting states.
“This quarter, Pete solidified himself as a top tier presidential candidate, not by tapping into the fundraising list or bank account of a sitting senator or someone who had run for president before, but by speaking to voters who for too long have been let down by politicians in Washington and are looking for a better path forward,” campaign manager Mike Schmuhl wrote in a memo Wednesday morning.
Buttigieg’s overtures to wealthy donors at private fundraisers came under fire in recent weeks, in a fight with Warren over transparency and the role of the traditional donor class in financing political campaigns.
In response, Buttigieg agreed to release his list of “bundlers” — those who funnel large sums of money to campaigns — and began giving limited access to reporters to his private fundraisers.
Fellow presidential contender Joe Biden, who has also relied on a high-dollar fundraising program, last week released the list of his bundlers. He has allowed limited access to his fundraisers since the beginning of his campaign.
In the final week of December, Buttigieg’s campaign held a fundraising contest challenging supporters to give the smallest unique donation amount. The contest generated more than 1,600 donations, the campaign said Tuesday.