Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, 2020 Democrats spend money as fast as raised
Sen. Bernard Sanders and Sen. Kamala Harris raised campaign cash much faster than they spent it this year, according to federal reports filed Monday, demonstrating that their operations can go the distance in a presidential race.
Neither raised as much money as President Trump’s $30 million haul in the first quarter. But the two Democrats showed they have the potential to hang-in against the Trump campaign, which was pulling in $4 for every $1 it spent.
As soon as the reports were filed with the Federal Elections Commission, Ms. Harris seized on Mr. Trump’s fund-raising prowess to prod supporters to chip in for her campaign.
“We’re in for an uphill fight. The Trump campaign is going to raise and spend whatever it takes to hold on to the White House. We have to show we won’t be outmatched,” she said in an email to supporters.
She raked in cash nearly three times as fast as her campaign spent it.
After collecting $12 million in contributions, the Harris campaign reported spending $4.2 million on operating expenses. With extra cash transferred from her Senate campaign committee, Ms. Harris ended the quarter with $8.9 million in the bank.
Mr. Sanders was even closer to Mr. Trump. He raised money nearly four times fast than his campaign was spending it. He collected $18 million and ended the quarter with a more than $15.6 million war chest.
He remained the man to beat in the Democrats’ money race as quarterly reports from the presidential candidates slowly trickled in ahead of the Federal Election Commission’s midnight deadline.
Several other candidates were barely breaking even.
Aaron Scherb, director of legislative affairs for Common Cause, said high burn rates are common in first-quarter reports because candidates have start-up costs, including the expense of setting up national fund-raising operations.
He wouldn’t count anybody out at his early stage, he said, but he gave the advantage to candidates such as Mr. Sanders and Ms. Harris.
“For those with lower burn rates, it likely bodes well for them that they are already efficient in their fundraising at this point,” said Mr. Scherb.
The candidates are heavily dependent on online fundraising through ActBlue, a portal that allows donors to funnel their contributions.
Ms. Harris reported 14,000 itemized contributions through ActBlue, totaling $9.2 million. Mr. Sanders, meanwhile, recorded $17.1 million across more than 26,600 donations facilitated by ActBlue.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts raised $6 million in the first three months of 2019 and spent it just as fast.
Her campaign doled out about $5.2 million, according to the federal filing. She had $11 million in the bank thanks to $10 million transferred from her Senate campaign committee.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who has struggled at 1 percent or less in the polls, also spent money as fast as her campaign could raise it.
With just under $3 million in contributions, the Gillibrand campaign spent $2.4 million.
Though her campaign reported no debts, the bulk of Ms. Gillibrand’s funds $9.6 million were transferred from her Senate campaign.
Millionaire and former Maryland Rep. John Delaney also spent as much as he raised. His campaign is buoyed by an $11 million of his own money.
By comparison, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro collected contributions twice as fast as he spent the money but took in just $1.1 million.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee raised more than $2 million in the month since announcing his presidential run and spent less than half $843,0000 to launch his run.
His seven-figure total and low burn rate provided a bright spot for Mr. Inslee, who is running on an agenda singularly focused on climate change and barely registers in the polls.
“This first-month fundraising shows strong grassroots momentum for Gov. Inslee’s message of defeating climate change,” said Inslee campaign manager Aisling Kerins.