Of that, more than $72 million was collected by the Republican National Committee, driven in part by big checks from wealthy donors — a sign of how much of the moneyed class that shunned Trump in 2016 is now embracing him.
Small donors also continued to give to the party and to Trump’s reelection campaign, which pulled in $46 million, far outpacing leading Democrats vying for their party’s nomination. Among them, the biggest fundraiser last quarter was Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) , who raised $34.5 million.
Since the impeachment inquiry began in September, the president’s campaign and RNC gained 600,000 new donors, officials said.
In all, Trump and the RNC together scooped up a staggering $463 million in 2019, party officials said. In comparison, then-President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party raised roughly $220 million in 2011, the year before his reelection.
“President Trump’s unwavering commitment to keeping his promises to the American people has propelled us to break fundraising records again this quarter,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement. “Democrats’ baseless impeachment charade has only made support for President Trump stronger.”
Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee has trailed far behind the RNC in fundraising.
As of the end of November, the DNC had raised $83.6 million for the year and had $6.5 million in debt, according to campaign finance filings. The RNC raised $241 million for the entire year, GOP party officials said.
DNC officials have said they are not seeking to outraise the RNC, but rather build up the party to support the eventual nominee after the nominating convention this summer.
“We’re seeing unprecedented enthusiasm for the Democratic Party, with half the Democratic field alone having already outraised the sitting incumbent president by tens of millions of dollars. The DNC made smart investments that led us to victories in 2017, 2018 and 2019, and is hard at work building the infrastructure necessary to do the same in 2020,” said Daniel Wessel, DNC spokesman.
The fourth-quarter figures notch a record for Trump’s reelection machine, which has already raised and spent historic amounts toward securing a second term. It is unclear whether the money can overcome some of the president’s challenges, including an approval rating that has hovered around 40 percent for his three years in office.
The money raised directly by the Trump campaign has been largely driven by online giving, coming in response to email, text and other appeals for $25 or $50 at a time.
As the incumbent president, Trump also benefits from big-money contributions through the joint fundraising committees with the national party. The cap for individual donors’ contributions to national parties is $710,000 in the two-year period of an election cycle, far more than the $5,600 per-cycle limit for donations to a given candidate.
During his 2016 campaign, Trump attacked his rivals as beholden to large donors. But in the last year, the president increasingly participated in high-dollar fundraisers in locales such as New York and Los Angeles, with minimum ticket prices of $35,000.
He has also regularly raised money at his own hotel, raising ethical questions about driving business to his properties.
Trump’s joint fundraising with the party has allowed him to use big-money contributions to finance some costly pieces of the reelection effort, including hosting big-dollar fundraisers and holding rallies for his supporters.
RNC officials say they have put $11 million into TV and digital ads against vulnerable Democrats who supported impeachment, and have built up the biggest staff in party history, with 400 people in 18 targeted states.