President Trump and the affiliated committees raising money for his reelection bid said Tuesday that they drew in $105 million in the past three months — a record-breaking amount that significantly widens their fundraising lead over Democrats.
“Eye-popping numbers,” Tim Murtaugh, the communications director for Trump’s campaign, tweeted Tuesday morning. “Shows the incredible strength of support for the President, his policies, and successes. On to victory!”
The official figures will be released publicly in federal campaign finance filings on July 15.
GOP officials said Trump’s reelection campaign had $100 million in cash on hand.
Trump was expected to post his best fundraising quarter, especially given the big push around his official 2020 campaign launch announcement in June. His campaign announced drawing in close to $30 million in less than two days of his reelection kickoff last month.
The second-quarter figures were first reported by the New York Times on Tuesday morning.
Trump’s reelection operation is financially dominating the Democratic field of two dozen primary candidates, who during last week’s Democratic National Committee debate had their first national opportunity to break out from the crowded pack and gain fundraising momentum.
Incumbents always have a built-in fundraising and messaging lead. But Trump is unique in that he began raising and spending money toward his reelection far earlier than his predecessors.
That lead has allowed his campaign to spend hefty sums to pepper voters with advertisements, test how voters respond to his messaging and then raise more money.
In a show of force, Trump’s campaign ran a banner video ad on the YouTube homepage on the first day of the Democratic debate last week.
The ad placement on YouTube, which boasts a reach of 2 billion viewers per month, is one of the most expensive advertising real estate online, according to Democratic digital firm Bully Pulpit Interactive.
Chris Gokiert, president of digital marketing agency Critical Mass, said the YouTube banner video ad is “absolutely” a coveted platform among brands. He likened Trump’s splashy ad on the DNC debate day to a brand running ads during the Super Bowl or the Grammy’s. The typical price of an ad during high-traffic events on YouTube can reach up to $1 million for 24 hours, he said.
“They’re following the same playbook that most brand advertisers, product advertisers do,” Gokiert said.
The message was clear, Democratic digital strategists said: Trump has a lot of money and is not afraid to spend it.
“It was all about projecting this aura of electability around him,” said Matt Compton, former deputy digital director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. He is now advocacy and engagement director in the Washington, D.C., office of Blue State Digital, a firm founded by the chief digital strategist for President Obama’s campaigns.
“He bought this, because he could. He spent this much money because he’s the incumbent president who can raise ungodly amounts of money,” Compton said.
Cheryl Hori, who runs the San Francisco-based Democratic digital strategy firm Pacific Campaign House, said Democrats need to pay attention to the types of advertisements Trump is spending his money on and how he is targeting his message.
“It was a power play,” said Hori, former deputy digital director for Democratic super PAC Priorities USA Action. “The amount of money he’s willing to spend on the day of the Democratic debates at a time when all eyes should be on the Democrats is really significant.”
The difference is especially stark given how fractured the Democratic presidential field is and how much harder each candidate has to work to raise money, she said.
So far on the Democratic side, two candidates announced their second-quarter figures.
South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg reported raising $25 million in the second quarter, a large sum for a newcomer to national politics. His campaign said it had $22.6 million in cash on hand.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) reported raising $18 million in contributions to his presidential campaign in the second quarter and transferred another $6 million from other accounts.
Former vice president Joe Biden suggested at a private Manhattan fundraiser last month that his campaign had taken in close to $20 million, which probably has gone up after a major fundraising trip he made to San Francisco at the end of June.
GOP officials said Tuesday that Trump and the two joint fundraising committees raising money for the RNC and the reelection campaign were responsible for drawing in $54 million of the haul in the second quarter, from April 1 through June 30. The RNC raised a separate $51 million, they said.
They said Trump’s online fundraising spiked in the second quarter, with the committees raising more from digital fundraising appeals than it did over the entire first half of 2018.