Elizabeth Warren Reports Raising $6 Million for 2020 Bid

(Bloomberg) -- Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren raised more than $6 million in the first quarter of 2019 for her presidential bid, with the average donor pitching in $28, according to figures released by her campaign.

The total isn’t much more than the $5.3 million Warren raised in the first quarter of 2017 as she sought re-election to the Senate from Massachusetts.

The campaign has $11.2 million in the bank, after transferring $10.4 million from Warren’s Senate account, according to a campaign aide, who asked for anonymity because the figures haven’t been released publicly. That would mean the campaign spent about $5.2 million during the quarter -- a level of spending that would suggest she’s burning through money almost as quickly as she’s raising it -- including on more than 170 paid staff members, half of them in states holding early caucuses and primaries.

Other Candidates

Warren’s haul puts her behind several others in the top tier of candidates seeking the 2020 nomination. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the current front-runner in polls among declared candidates, reported raising $18.2 million for his presidential bid in the first three months of the year, while former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke raised $9.4 million in just 18 days following his presidential campaign announcement in March.

Senator Kamala Harris of California has said she raised $12 million from more than 218,000 individual contributions, while Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, reported collecting $7 million.

The reported totals for individual candidates are impressive, but still less than the $25 million Barack Obama raised during the first quarter of 2007. That score immediately added credibility to the campaign of a man who was then the junior senator from Illinois. There were far fewer candidates competing in that nomination contest than the 17 who are running so far this year.

Reporting Deadline

The first-quarter numbers offer early evidence of who is generating excitement among the party’s grassroots donors at a time when Democrats are placing increasing emphasis on collecting cash from sources other than big donors and corporate political action committees.

The candidates must report fundraising and spending to the Federal Election Commission by the end of Monday, but individual campaigns often announce collections shortly after the quarter is over to try to showcase their support.

Some likely candidates, including former Vice President Joe Biden, may have delayed their entry into the race until after the end of March so that they could avoid the expectations game associated with the first-quarter fundraising. Biden has told friends he’s likely to announce a bid later this month.

Joe Rospars, a Warren adviser who was Barack Obama’s digital strategist during his successful 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, argued on Twitter that his candidate was in the hunt on the fundraising front.

"If you’re looking in these numbers for a measure of enthusiasm, actual humans is a good place to start," he wrote. "In terms of number of people and donations, we’re in a dead heat with Beto, Pete and Kamala."

Warren took the unusual step in February of swearing off high-dollar fundraisers and receptions as she runs a populist campaign vowing to take on financial elites and corporations, who she argues are using their clout to exploit ordinary Americans. The move raised questions about whether small donations would be enough to power a successful primary campaign in a crowded field of Democrats.

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