Bullock pulls in $2.3 million in third quarter, trailing most rivals

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock raised nearly $2.3 million for his presidential bid in the third fundraising quarter, his campaign said on Friday.

Bullock’s fundraising haul falls short of most of the other candidates who have announced their third-quarter totals so far. But it’s higher than that of at least one of his rivals, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), who announced this week that he pulled in $2.1 million over the past three months.

It’s also an improvement over his second-quarter total of roughly $2 million. Ninety-seven percent of contributions to Bullock’s campaign were $200 or less, and the average donation size was $24, according to his campaign.

“Our growing grassroots support helps us build a robust campaign to compete in early states like Iowa and beyond,” Jenn Ridder, Bullock’s campaign manager, said in a statement. 

“With a doubling of our individual contributions — and an average online contribution of just $24 — it’s clear that Governor Bullock’s message of progressive reform is resonating with grassroots supporters across the country. This campaign is built to go the distance, which is why Governor Bullock will continue fighting for his vision of an America where everyone has a fair shot at a better life.”

Bullock’s bid for the Democratic nomination has struggled to gain traction since he announced his campaign in May. He didn’t make the stage for the presidential debate in September, and didn’t qualify for October’s debate either.

His polling numbers have hovered in the low single digits for months and his fundraising has lagged far behind that of the primary field’s top-tier.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), one of the candidates at the front of the pack, announced this week that he raised $25.3 million in the third quarter of the year. Another front-runner, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), said on Friday that she raised $24.6 million. 

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg brought in $19.1 million in the third quarter, while former Vice President Joe Biden, who has long led the pack in public polls, raised $15.2 million, according to his campaign.

Bullock’s campaign announced earlier this week that he would seek public funds for his campaign, becoming the first candidate to do so this cycle. But accepting public funds is something of a double-edged sword. One on hand, it would inject much-needed cash into Bullock’s campaign. On the other, it would limit the amount he can spend in the race. 

There’s one other problem for Bullock. The Federal Election Commission has to approve Bullock’s application to receive public campaign financing, and the commission does not currently have enough members to hold a meeting or vote on such a matter. 

The commission needs at least one more member to have a quorum, and there is one nominee awaiting confirmation. The Senate, however, traditionally confirms two nominees at a time.

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