Donors Rally to Biden in Wake of Trump’s Response to Protests


(Bloomberg) -- Democratic donors are pouring money into Joe Biden’s campaign in the wake of the protests spurred by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week.

Two fundraisers said President Donald Trump’s response to the protests and violence that has accompanied some of them have motivated donors to give even more to support Biden.

“As a ‘bundler,’ you’re usually out chasing the bundle but now the bundle is chasing me,” said John Morgan, a longtime Florida-based Democratic fundraiser and one of Biden’s biggest backers. Bundlers raise contributions for candidates and parties from their professional and personal networks and “bundle” them together.

Employees of Morgan’s law firm, Morgan & Morgan, gave Biden more than $435,000, his third largest source of funds for the primary. Those donations were capped at $2,800, but now Morgan, who’s preparing to raise bigger sums in the general election, can collect bigger checks through different channels.

Donors Rally to Biden in Wake of Trump’s Response to Protests

Biden has set up a fundraising vehicle that can accept much bigger amounts, split between the Democratic National Committee, his campaign and 26 state parties, the general election fundraising will far outpace the primaries. He says he’s fielded multiple calls this week from donors who can write large checks – the maximum donation is now $620,300 – asking how they can support the campaign.

“It’s a whole new ballgame,” Morgan said. And it could help Biden narrow the financial advantage Trump, who faced no serious primary opposition, has built for November.

Biden’s fundraising has trailed Trump, whose re-election effort raised $742 million in the last 16 months. Biden and the Democratic National Committee took in less than half of that, $342 million, through the end of April. Trump, the Republican National Committee and two fundraising vehicles had $255 million in the bank at the end of that month compared to $103 million for Biden and the DNC.

Unlike Biden, Trump spent heavily on media, including pricey television ads, in May, in response to falling poll numbers. His campaign booked $17.8 million worth of ads, including $4.1 million on digital platforms, that month, according to Advertising Analytics, compared to $3 million for Biden, which was all spent on online ads. Campaigns and parties report their May fundraising numbers to the Federal Election Commission on June 20.

Democratic fundraisers say their donors have been energized by Trump’s performance since the killing of Floyd, who died after a white police officer pressed a knee into his neck for more than eight minutes. Violence erupted in dozens of cities, from Minneapolis to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington.

Trump’s confrontational tone – he urged governors to “dominate the streets” in a call on Monday and vowed to deploy the military to quell violence – are one factor in the surge, but even more significant is his failure to offer a unifying message to a country already reeling from the coronavirus epidemic and now facing racially charged violence, said Mitchell Berger, a longtime Democratic fundraiser from Florida.

“Donors are saying he’s not doing it, he’s not capable of doing it, so our only option is to dig deeper and make sure he doesn’t win a second term,” Berger said.

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