The Democratic Early Money Game: The first quarter FEC reports for Democratic presidential candidates are in and offer a good glimpse at which candidates have early strength. Bernie Sanders leads the pack, having raised $18.2 million, $15.3 million coming from small dollar donors ($200 or less) and just $2.9 million from large dollar donors. Kamala Harris came in second with over $12 million, though only $4.4 million came from small dollar donors and $7.6 million came from large dollar donors. Robert Francis O’Rourke rounded out the top three, raising $9.4 million, $5.5 million from small dollar donors.
Pete Buttigieg ($7.1 million), Elizabeth Warren ($6 million), Amy Klobuchar ($5.2 million), and Cory Booker ($5 million) all held their own, but the remaining candidates raised much less. Kirsten Gillibrand ($3 million), Jay Inslee ($2.3 million), John Hickenlooper ($2 million), and Tulsi Gabbard ($2 million) all raised under $5 million. Julian Castro had the most disappointing quarter with only one million dollars, a smaller haul than less-viable politicians like Andrew Yang and Marianne Williamson.
Several candidates transferred funds from their Senate campaign committees, giving their cash-on-hand a boost. Sanders also leads the cash-on-hand contest ($15.7 million), followed by Warren ($11.2 million), John Delaney ($10.6 million), Gillibrand ($10.2 million), Harris ($9 million), Klobuchar ($7 million), O’Rourke ($6.9 million), Buttigieg ($6.4 million), Booker ($6.1 million), Gabbard ($2.8 million), Inslee ($1.4 million), Hickenlooper ($1.3 million), Yang ($1.2 million), Castro ($677,654), Williamson ($549,503), and Wayne Messam ($41,830).
Early money does not predict the winner, but shows support, organization, and ability to last for the long haul. While some of these numbers are impressive, every Democrat lags behind the Trump campaign’s $30 million quarter and the numbers both Barack Obama ($25.7 million) and Hillary Clinton ($45 million) raised in their first quarter in 2008 and 2016, respectively.