Warren heats up 2020 money race as Buttigieg tops field

Warren heats up 2020 money race as Buttigieg tops field

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegDemocratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump hits media over 'send her back' coverage The Hill's Campaign Report: Second debate lineups set up high-profile clash MORE and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden compares Trump to George Wallace Sanders unveils plan to guarantee the 'right to a secure retirement' CNN Democratic debate drawing finishes third in cable news ratings race MORE are poised to post the biggest fundraising numbers of the second quarter, but Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenJulián Castro is behind in the polls, but he's finding a niche Gabbard arrives in Puerto Rico to 'show support' amid street protests Democratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall 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 ClintonMatt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' What to expect when Mueller testifies: Not much McConnell challenger faces tougher path after rocky launch 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 SandersGabbard arrives in Puerto Rico to 'show support' amid street protests Democratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall Sanders unveils plan to guarantee the 'right to a secure retirement' 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 HarrisWhat to expect when Mueller testifies: Not much Biden compares Trump to George Wallace CNN Democratic debate drawing finishes third in cable news ratings race 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 TrumpUS-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Trump talks to Swedish leader about rapper A$AP Rocky, offers to vouch for his bail Matt Gaetz ahead of Mueller hearing: 'We are going to reelect the president' 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 BullockDemocratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump hits media over 'send her back' coverage The Hill's Campaign Report: Second debate lineups set up high-profile clash 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 BennetDemocratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump hits media over 'send her back' coverage The Hill's Campaign Report: Second debate lineups set up high-profile clash 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 BookerDemocratic strategist predicts most 2020 candidates will drop out in late fall The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump hits media over 'send her back' coverage The Hill's Campaign Report: Second debate lineups set up high-profile clash 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.