Trump and the RNC entered the fourth quarter with $156 million in cash on hand, campaign manager Brad Parscale announced Tuesday — highlighting the growing cash lead that Trump has over any potential Democratic rival.
The Democratic field has split up the donor base, which is giving to multiple candidates or not giving at all until donors see the primary field narrow.
Two other candidates released their figures Tuesday, providing a sense of how wide-ranging the fundraising totals were among Democratic candidates as they slogged through the notoriously difficult summer fundraising months.
South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, announced that his campaign raised more than $19.1 million in the third quarter — less than Sanders did but an amount that gives him staying power in a crowded field.
Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), announced raising $11.6 million — on par with her haul last quarter. Her campaign said she entered the fourth quarter with $10 million in cash on hand.
Sanders (I-Vt.) transferred an additional $2.6 million from his other federal campaign accounts, the campaign said.
The third-quarter figure announced by the Sanders campaign rivals his $26 million haul at this point in the primary campaign in 2015, when he stunned the Democratic field by nearly matching the total of his opponent, Hillary Clinton, with an infusion of money from donors giving less than $200. Yet this time, he is facing more than a dozen opponents.
The massive third-quarter haul is welcome news for Sanders supporters, who have seen their candidate fall behind former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in some recent polls. The Sanders campaign has also been dealing with staff turmoil in the key early states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
But Sanders’s formidable fundraising email list, which has been without an equal in recent years, could help him weather those challenges into a crucial fall stretch.
The Sanders campaign offered a glimpse of where it is spending some of its cash, announcing its first paid TV commercial of the campaign Tuesday afternoon. The ad, which will begin a two-week run in Iowa on Thursday, is backed by $1.3 million for airtime, the campaign said.
“In this moment, we need a fighter — Bernie Sanders,” says the narrator in a 60-second version of the commercial. The ad shows clips of Sanders speaking at campaign rallies, marching with workers and greeting supporters.
Buttigieg’s reported third-quarter contributions were less than what his campaign raised in the second quarter — when he surpassed all of his Democratic opponents with $24.8 million. But they were far greater than his first-quarter total of $7.1 million, when he entered the race as a relative unknown.
His campaign has spent the past quarter aggressively building its operation and investing in early states, notably rolling out television ads in Iowa that seek to differentiate Buttigieg from Warren and Sanders when it comes to health care.
In addition, Buttigieg has more than doubled his staff members in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada over the past several months.
Harris saw a bump in fundraising and polling at the end of the second quarter thanks to a headline-grabbing debate performance in June, but she has struggled to maintain momentum and slipped in the polls in subsequent weeks.
Harris had a full fundraising schedule this summer to increase donations and sustain her campaign. She recently announced plans to expand her campaign in Iowa and South Carolina through November.
Candidates have until Oct. 15 to file fundraising reports with the Federal Election Commission, but those with noteworthy numbers typically share their totals soon after a quarter ends. Monday was the final day of the third quarter, which began July 1.
While Sanders’s support in the polls has fluctuated in his second run for president, his fundraising ability has been a reliable asset that has continued to stun some Democrats.
Campaign officials declined Tuesday to specify how much he had in cash on hand by the end of the quarter.
In a statement, campaign manager Faiz Shakir compared Sanders’s appeal among small-dollar donors to Trump’s. The president has consistently drawn donations from individuals giving less than $200.
Their contributions can fuel campaigns for a longer period of time, because it takes longer for such donors to reach the $2,800 maximum they can donate to a primary campaign.
The Democratic nominee will eventually face off against Trump’s successful small-dollar fundraising operation.
Sanders and Warren have opted not to host private fundraisers catering to wealthy donors.
Still, Sanders has supplemented his online fundraising with occasional in-person events his campaign has dubbed “grass-roots fundraisers.” The gatherings, held in big cities such as San Francisco and New York, have featured far lower entry fees than the typical private fundraisers.
One such event in Hollywood in late July included opening musical performers. Actor Danny Glover appeared at a San Francisco fundraiser in June.
Democratic donors fueled campaigns and groups with a record-breaking amount of small-dollar donations on the last day of the third quarter, according to ActBlue, a Democratic fundraising platform.
ActBlue announced that on Monday, it had recorded the largest number of individual contributions in a day since its founding in 2004.
WinRed, the GOP platform for online donations, said Tuesday that it processed more than $13.7 million in donations from more than 276,000 contributors in the six days since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced the impeachment inquiry, drawing on Trump’s online donors showing their support for the president.