ActBlue says it raised $1 billion for Democrats in 2019

ActBlue says it raised $1 billion for Democrats in 2019
© Hill illustration

Small-dollar donors gave Democratic candidates and groups more than $1 billion in 2019 through the online platform ActBlue, a sign the group said Thursday that Democratic donors are already engaged at greater levels than in previous cycles.

The group reports that more than 6 million people used ActBlue to make almost 35 million contributions to 13,314 distinct campaigns, committees and organizations. Half of those donors used the platform for the first time last year.

And the pace of donations has picked up. Donors gave $343 million to Democratic candidates and causes in the last three months of the year. They gave more than half a million contributions totaling more than $20 million on the final day of the year.

ADVERTISEMENT

The donations represent an exponential growth in both donors and money raised over the last several years. ActBlue said it raised a little more than half a billion dollars for Democratic candidates and causes in 2017 and about $206 million in 2015. The number of donations doubled between 2017 and 2019.

ActBlue, founded in 2004, has given Democrats a significant edge in the race for small-dollar donations, which are those under $200.

In the 2018 election cycle, nine of the 10 candidates who raised the most money from small-dollar donors were Democrats; Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzJordan says he thinks trial will be over by next week The Hill's Morning Report — Dems detail case to remove Trump for abuse of power GOP-Biden feud looms over impeachment trial MORE (R-Texas) was the lone Republican to break into the top 10, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

As Democrats spend millions of dollars competing for their party’s presidential nomination, the big donations from grassroots donors alleviate some of the party’s worries that their eventual nominee will begin a general election campaign with a tiny bank account. Donor enthusiasm offers a hint that those empty coffers will fill rapidly once the party settles on a nominee.

“Our nominee will need at least half of their funds from grassroots donors if they want to beat Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Trump expands tariffs on steel and aluminum imports CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group MORE. Based on what we saw last year, the eventual Democratic nominee will have an army of grassroots donors behind them,” Erin Hill, ActBlue’s executive director, said in a statement.

More than half of all donations across the platform came through a mobile device, the first time mobile donations have surpassed donations made on a computer. This year, ActBlue rolled out an express option that allows donors to give through just a single click, reducing the time it takes to give to a candidate.

Republicans have founded a counterpart firm, WinRed, to give their candidates and causes an avenue to compete for the same small-dollar donations. That group said on Twitter on Monday that it had raised $101 million in its first half-year.