Biden raises $15.2 million in third quarter, trailing Sanders and Buttigieg

Former Vice President Joe Biden raised $15.2 million in the third quarter of 2019, his campaign announced on Thursday, a substantial sum that puts him among the Democratic presidential field’s top-tier fundraisers but behind some of his closest rivals.

That fundraising haul falls short of the more than $22 million Biden raised in the second quarter of the year — his first on the campaign trail. It’s also less than the third-quarter totals of at least two of his rivals, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who announced this week that they had raised $25.3 million and $19.1 million, respectively.

Biden’s campaign touted strong grassroots fundraising numbers. Ninety-eight percent of all contributions to his campaign were less than or equal to $200, and the average donation was $44, his campaign said. The campaign did not say how much cash it has on hand.

But Biden has maintained a frequent presence at high-dollar fundraising events and among the wealthy donors who have long held sway in presidential politics. He attended more than a dozen fundraisers in the final weeks of the third quarter. 

Greg Schultz, Biden’s campaign manager, said the campaign had enough money on hand to scale up operations as it heads into the critical fall season, when the pace of campaigning typically ramps up.

“Today’s fundraising totals put the campaign in a strong position as we enter the fall,” Schultz said. “The question any campaign faces at this point is whether or not you have the resources to compete in early states and sustain your efforts beyond. Our campaign unequivocally does and builds on our strength each week.”

The fundraising announcement came hours after Biden’s campaign announced a $6 million coordinated media effort in the four early primary and caucus states. That includes paid advertising on prime-time television and on digital platforms, like Hulu and YouTube.

While his third-quarter haul is likely more than enough to power his campaign through the crucial three-month period ahead, it suggests that financial support for Biden may be slowing at a time when one of his rivals, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), is on the rise.

A spate of national and early state polls have shown her gaining on — and even surpassing — Biden in recent weeks. She has yet to disclose her third-quarter fundraising total. Candidates have until Oct. 15 to file financial reports with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). 

Speaking at a private fundraiser in Palo Alto, Calif., on Thursday, Biden announced his third-quarter total and reminded donors that the quarter stretched through “the middle of summer,” a time when the pace of fundraising typically slows. 

Still, Biden’s fundraising haul was markedly higher than several other Democratic contenders. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) raised $11.6 million in the third quarter, her campaign said. Former tech executive Andrew Yang brought in $10 million. 

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who finished the quarter with an aggressive fundraising drive, raked in $6 million, while bestselling author Marianne Williamson announced on Thursday that she had raised $3 million. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) ended the fundraising period with $2.1 million raised.

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