Warren heats up 2020 money race as Buttigieg tops field

Warren heats up 2020 money race as Buttigieg tops field
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South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegO'Rourke responds to Buttigieg's gun criticism: 'That calculation and fear is what got us here in the first place' Buttigieg: Biden gave 'bad' debate answer on slavery's legacy O'Rourke's debate moment reignites gun debate on Sunday shows MORE and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden bemoans white supremacy in remarks at civil rights movement site Gun control: Campaigning vs. legislating Sunday shows - Guns dominate after Democratic debate MORE are poised to post the biggest fundraising numbers of the second quarter, but Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenGun control: Campaigning vs. legislating Booker defends middle-ground health care approach: 'We're going to fight to get there' Democrats spar over electoral appeal of 'Medicare for All' MORE (D-Mass.) is gaining momentum at the grass-roots level, setting up a full-on cash dash among the presidential primary's top-tier candidates.

While candidates have until July 15 to report their second-quarter hauls to the Federal Election Commission, a handful of Democrats have opted to announce their totals early, eager to show off their donor bases and extend their fundraising streaks into the second half of the year.

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Buttigieg is expected to lead the pack in the money race for the quarter. His campaign announced earlier this month that it had raked in $24.8 million from 294,000 donors over the past three months, more than three times the amount he raised in the first quarter of the year.

“I think obviously Mayor Pete has far more resources than most people would have predicted in January,” said Adam Parkhomenko, a Democratic strategist and former aide to former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDershowitz: 'Too many politicians are being subject to criminal prosecution' The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Democrats spar over electoral appeal of 'Medicare for All' MORE’s 2016 presidential campaign. “He’s sort of secured his spot.”

Meanwhile, Biden's campaign disclosed that he had raised $21.5 million since announcing his presidential bid in late April, a cash haul that puts him among the top two fundraisers of the quarter but is short of the $25 million that some donors predicted he would report.

But it’s Warren and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersGun control: Campaigning vs. legislating Booker defends middle-ground health care approach: 'We're going to fight to get there' Sunday shows preview: Democratic candidates make the rounds after debate MORE (I-Vt.) who have so far dominated the grass-roots fundraising circuit.

Sanders’s campaign announced last week that the Vermont senator brought in $18 million from more than 1 million donations in the second quarter of 2019, nearly matching the $18.2 million he raised in the first three months of the year. He is expected to report a $24 million haul for the quarter, including $6 million in transfers from other campaign accounts.

Faiz Shakir, Sanders’s campaign manager, said last week that the senator will report an estimated $30 million in cash on hand when he files his fundraising report on July 15.

Warren, who has put perhaps the most stringent restrictions on her fundraising channels, became the latest candidate to disclose her second-quarter fundraising total, announcing in an email to supporters on Monday that she would report raising more than $19 million since April. Like Buttigieg, that’s more than triple her first-quarter haul.

Rounding out the top-five polling candidates is Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Gun control: Campaigning vs. legislating Booker defends middle-ground health care approach: 'We're going to fight to get there' MORE (D-Calif.), who announced on Friday that she raised nearly $12 million in the second quarter.

While that puts her well behind the other top-tier contenders, she was bolstered in the final days of fundraising by a standout performance in last month’s presidential debate in which she confronted Biden, the primary contest’s current front-runner, over his past position on school busing during his early years in the Senate in the 1970s.

Her campaign said that she raised $2 million in online donations in the 24 hours after the debate, plus an additional $1.2 million over the weekend that followed.

The fundraising numbers are important because they provide early insight into which candidates are amassing the money necessary to power their campaigns through the long slog to the Democratic nomination.

But they also underscore competing primary strategies. Biden, for instance, has used his deep political connections to tap into the Democratic Party’s traditional network of large donors.

Meanwhile, Sanders and Warren have disparaged big money in politics, with the latter going as far as to swear off of high-dollar fundraisers altogether. Sanders has also avoided high-dollar events, but has held so-called "grass-roots fundraisers" with low admission costs. One such event in San Francisco in May brought in about $80,000, according to his campaign.

Buttigieg, on the other hand, has sought to bridge the divide between courting big donors and rallying the support of grass-roots donors. He held roughly 50 high-dollar fundraising events in the second quarter of 2019, though he has also touted an army of nearly 300,000 donors and an average contribution size of $47.42.

Aides to at least two campaigns argued that there is a risk to pursuing contributions from high-dollar donors. Individuals can only give up to $2,800 per candidate for the primary. Those maxed-out contributors may help pad fundraising numbers short-term, they argue, but aren’t a sustainable source of funding.

“Many of these candidates are over reliant on these $2,800 checks that are coming in. Those $2,800 checks – that’s a one-time donation,” Jeff Weaver, a senior adviser to Sanders, said last week. “The low-dollar model actually accelerates over time.”

No Democrat is expected to come close to President TrumpDonald John TrumpHarris bashes Kavanaugh's 'sham' nomination process, calls for his impeachment after sexual misconduct allegation Celebrating 'Hispanic Heritage Month' in the Age of Trump Let's not play Charlie Brown to Iran's Lucy MORE’s fundraising numbers. His campaign announced last week that, along with the president’s joint fundraising committees, it had raised $54 million.

Other Democrats, meanwhile, are expected to report far less.

Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats clash over future of party in heated debate The Hill's 12:30 Report: House panel approves impeachment powers Left off debate stage, Bullock all-in on Iowa MORE, for instance, raised $2 million in the second quarter, though he only entered the race in May, giving him less time to fundraise than other presidential hopefuls.

And Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetThe Hill's 12:30 Report: House panel approves impeachment powers Burden in tonight's debate is on Democratic realists 2020 primary debate guide: Everything you need to know ahead of the September Democratic debate MORE (D-Colo.) brought in $3.5 million since announcing his White House bid on May 2, padded by a $700,000 transfer from his Senate campaign account.

Most campaigns have yet to reveal their second-quarter fundraising hauls, and it remains to be seen whether candidates like former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), who proved to be an adept fundraiser early on but whose campaign has lagged in recent months, will keep pace.

Parkhomenko, the former Clinton aide, said that he expects several other candidates’ political stock to rise in the coming weeks following well-received debate performances, including former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSunday shows - Guns dominate after Democratic debate Booker defends middle-ground health care approach: 'We're going to fight to get there' Sunday shows preview: Democratic candidates make the rounds after debate MORE (D-N.J.).

“I think part of this is scaling; not getting too hot too quickly and remembering that a lot of people aren’t paying attention to anything until after Labor Day,” Parkhomenko said.