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 WarrenDon't expect Trump-sized ratings for Democratic debates Poll: Biden leads Democratic field by 6 points, Warren in second place Senate Health Committee advances bipartisan package to lower health costs MORE (D-Mass.) announcing her exploratory committee and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe Biden'Teflon Don' avoids the scorn of the 'family values' GOP — again Don't expect Trump-sized ratings for Democratic debates Hickenlooper laughs off lack of recognition by security guard at Democratic debate MORE slated to make a decision in the coming weeks. 

Other potential contenders, such as former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkePoll: Biden leads Democratic field by 6 points, Warren in second place The Hill's 12:30 Report: Anticipation high ahead of first debate Warren visits migrant care shelter, says children being marched 'like little prisoners' MORE (D-Texas) and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisPoll: Biden leads Democratic field by 6 points, Warren in second place 2020 Dems say they will visit Homestead facility holding migrant children Warren visits migrant care shelter, says children being marched 'like little prisoners' 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 CruzWhite House to convene social media summit after new Trump attacks GOP lays debate trap for 2020 Democrats O'Rourke on Senate bid backer Beyoncé: I will have to 'earn her support' for 2020 MORE (R-Texas) in the 2018 midterm elections.

— Julia Manchester