Small-dollar donor networks could be a determining factor for Dem candidates, says Hill reporter

The Hill campaign reporter Reid Wilson on Monday said that he thinks seeing which Democrat can build the biggest network of small-dollar donors is becoming a straw poll-like method for the party. 

"That's actually becoming one of the early touch points in the race for the 2020 presidential nomination on the Democratic side, who can build the biggest list of small-dollar donors?" Wilson told Hill.TV's Joe Concha on "What America's Thinking." 

"Democrats don't have straw polls like Republicans do. It's in their rules that they're not allowed to have straw polls, but that's becoming the new straw poll," he continued. 

"If you can build that big list in the beginning, you're going to be viable towards the end," he said. 

Wilson's comments come as the 2020 Democratic primary field begins to take shape, with Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Buttigieg calls Warren 'evasive' on Medicare for all Sanders hits 1 million donors MORE (D-Mass.) announcing her exploratory committee and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenGiuliani clashes with CNN's Cuomo, calls him a 'sellout' and the 'enemy' Giuliani says 'of course' he asked Ukraine to look into Biden seconds after denying it Trump whistleblower complaint involves Ukraine: report MORE slated to make a decision in the coming weeks. 

Other potential contenders, such as former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeOvernight Health Care — Presented by Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Pelosi unveils signature plan to lower drug prices | Trump says it's 'great to see' plan | Progressives pushing for changes Fox's Ed Henry to Trump: 'Are you willing to stand up to the NRA?' Sanders, Yang to miss CNN's town hall on LGBTQ issues MORE (D-Texas) and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisTwo former Congressional Black Caucus chairmen back Biden Strippers, 'Hustlers' and the Democratic debates 2020 Dems honor Emily Clyburn MORE (D-Calif.), have made headlines in the past with their ability to raise large amounts from small donors. 

O'Rourke notably raised more than $70 million in his unsuccessful bid to unseat Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz endorses GOP candidate for Senate in New Hampshire Missouri Republican wins annual craft brewing competition for lawmakers GOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan MORE (R-Texas) in the 2018 midterm elections.

— Julia Manchester