Winners and losers from first fundraising quarter

The last of the first-quarter campaign finance reports were made public Monday, providing the most complete picture of who's ahead and who's behind in the presidential money race among declared candidates.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersThe biggest challenge from the Mueller Report depends on the vigilance of everyone GOP Senate campaign arm hits battleground-state Dems over 'Medicare for All,' Green New Deal Warren unveils plan to cancel student loan debt, create universal free college MORE (I-Vt.) leads the pack on the Democratic side with a massive $18.2 million haul. But even that sum pales in comparison to the $30 million President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump calls Sri Lankan prime minister following church bombings Ex-Trump lawyer: Mueller knew Trump had to call investigation a 'witch hunt' for 'political reasons' The biggest challenge from the Mueller Report depends on the vigilance of everyone MORE brought in from January through March.

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And while it’s still early in the election cycle — the Iowa caucuses are almost 10 months away — the fundraising numbers are an indication of each contender's strength and longevity in what’s expected to be an expensive race.

Here are some of the winners and losers from the first quarter of 2019.


WINNERS

South Bend Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegWarren unveils plan to cancel student loan debt, create universal free college Buttigieg says quick rise has 'created some challenges' Moulton enters 2020 White House race MORE (D)

The South Bend, Ind., mayor’s transformation from a relative unknown on the national stage to a political force to be reckoned with was solidified in his $7 million first-quarter haul.

While several other Democratic hopefuls outraised him, his fundraising total was seen as a sign of momentum for a candidate who entered the presidential race as a newcomer to national politics.

Buttigieg spent only about $685,000 in the first quarter and ended March with $6.4 million in the bank, giving him a burn rate of less than 10 percent — a sign that he’s bringing in crucial campaign cash a lot faster than he’s spending it.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

Sanders topped the growing Democratic field, raking in more than $18 million in the roughly six weeks that followed his mid-February campaign launch.

With an average donation size of $20 and roughly 900,000 individual contributors, the Vermont senator showed he has an edge among grass-roots donors.

His campaign spent just over 27 percent of the money it took in — a relatively low burn rate for a candidate with proven fundraising abilities. He ended the quarter with almost $15.7 million in the bank.

President Trump

Trump's campaign committee received more than $30 million in the first three months of 2019, leaving him with a massive $40 million in funding more than a year and a half before Election Day.
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Incumbency is a potent fundraising tool for presidents, and Trump started to take in money for his reelection campaign earlier than his White House predecessors.

But the first-quarter haul nevertheless signals Trump has the support of his base. Almost 99 percent of donations received were for $200 or less, his campaign said on Monday.

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisWarren unveils plan to cancel student loan debt, create universal free college Moulton enters 2020 White House race The Hill's Morning Report - Is impeachment back on the table? MORE (D-Calif.)

Harris came in second place among Democrats in dollars raised, bringing in a solid $12 million.

She also had a relatively low burn rate, spending about 36 percent of what she took in.

Harris finished March with nearly $9 million in the bank, suggesting her fundraising ability will be enough to keep her campaign afloat well into the 2020 primary season, which begins in February.

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas)

O’Rourke jumped into the presidential race late in the first quarter, giving his campaign little more than two weeks to wow political observers with a large fundraising tally. Ultimately, he pulled it off, posting a $9.4 million sum in just 18 days.

What’s more, O’Rourke burned through only 27 percent of the cash he took in, putting him on par with Sanders and leaving his campaign with roughly $6.8 million in the bank.

LOSERS

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenTrump pushes back on impeachment talk: 'Tables are finally turning on the Witch Hunt!' Warren unveils plan to cancel student loan debt, create universal free college Moulton enters 2020 White House race MORE (D-Mass.)

Warren has positioned herself as a leader among Democrats in campaign finance purity, swearing off not just corporate political action committee money but all PAC money, as well as high-dollar fundraisers.

She raised about $6 million in the first quarter, despite her sweeping national profile and the fact that she had the full three months of the first quarter to fundraise, as opposed to others who jumped into the race mid-quarter.

But more ominous than her fundraising total is her campaign’s spending. Of the roughly $6 million she brought in, she spent $5.2 million. That’s a burn rate of more than 80 percent — among the highest of any candidate in the race.

Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandWarren unveils plan to cancel student loan debt, create universal free college Cory Booker has a problem in 2020: Kamala Harris Booker to supporter who wanted him to punch Trump: 'Black guys like us, we don't get away with that' MORE (D-N.Y.)

Gillibrand brought in just under $3 million, the smallest first-quarter haul of any sitting senator in the 2020 presidential race.

In a memo obtained by The New York Times this week, Gillibrand’s campaign suggested that one reason for the senator’s low fundraising total may be due to backlash over her calls in 2017 for former Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenWinners and losers from first fundraising quarter Election analyst says Gillibrand doesn't have 'horsepower to go the full distance' Gillibrand campaign links low fundraising to Al Franken backlash: memo MORE (D-Minn.) to resign amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

But there are other warning signs for Gillibrand: Her campaign burned through roughly 80 percent of the contributions it took in, giving her one of the highest spending rates of any 2020 hopeful.

Former Rep. John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneySeveral 2020 Dems say they're ready to face Fox News town hall Booker denies 'swipe' at John Delaney after his campaign sent fundraising email attacking Delaney The Hill's 12:30 Report: First look at 2020 money race MORE (D-Md.)

The former congressman from Maryland has been open about the fact that he intends to self-fund much of his 2020 presidential bid. His first-quarter fundraising report made that plan even clearer.

Delaney, who announced his presidential bid in July 2017, loaned his campaign $11.7 million in the first three months of 2019. But he received less than $435,000 in outside contributions, the smallest amount of any candidate in the race.

While Delaney’s vast personal wealth means he is unlikely to run out of campaign cash any time soon, the small total from donors is likely to be interpreted as a sign that Delaney isn’t gaining any momentum.