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Bundlers see fundraising problems for Biden

Bundlers see fundraising problems for Biden
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Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE’s fourth-place finish in Iowa earlier this week is expected to put a significant dent in his fundraising efforts in the weeks to come. 

Interviews with prominent Democratic donors and fundraisers reveal a palpable nervousness and apprehension about throwing their support behind Biden’s weakened candidacy. 

“His fundraising was already suffering. It has not been great,” said one Democratic bundler who has contributed to the campaign but has not supported the former vice president wholeheartedly. “And he’ll have a tougher time raising money now that he needs it." 

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“It’s obvious he’s going to face major headwinds in the next two states,” the fundraiser added, referring to the New Hampshire primary and the caucuses in Nevada. 

A second major donor who has written checks to Biden but has not endorsed Biden outright said he was leaning toward the former vice president in the days before the Iowa caucuses but now has some doubts. 

“Why would I support him now?” the donor said. “I still believe he’s the best candidate to defeat Trump but he’s got a lot to prove. He’s running a weak campaign. People want to vote for someone, not against.”

Even before the Iowa results, one California fundraising event scheduled for Feb. 20 was pushed back to March 4, a day after more than a dozen contests are held on this cycle’s Super Tuesday. The event was pushed back without explanation, sources say, leaving some donors to wonder aloud if the Biden campaign couldn’t get enough attendees for the event.

Biden is also expected to host two events in New York on Feb. 13, according to a source familiar with the plans. Those events could help the former vice president fill his coffers before he heads into a pivotal point in the race where he will have to compete against former New York City mayor and billionaire Michael BloombergMichael BloombergBiden's great challenge: Build an economy for long-term prosperity and security The secret weapon in Biden's fight against climate change Sanders celebrates Biden-Harris victory: 'Thank God democracy won out' MORE, who is largely funding his own campaign. 

Bloomberg is sitting out the first four contests in the race, but he is looming over the other candidates with his massive advertising push. If Biden falters, there may be pressure for him to get out of the way of Bloomberg.

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Several donors said they would consider donating to Bloomberg in the coming weeks if Biden’s campaign continues to struggle. Donors and fundraisers also say they would also consider backing Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegJuan Williams: Clyburn is my choice as politician of the year 'Biff is president': Michael J. Fox says Trump has played on 'every worst instinct in mankind' Buttigieg: Denying Biden intelligence briefings is about protecting Trump's 'ego' MORE, the former South Bend, Ind., mayor. 

These Democrats reflect the pull of centrists in the party who favor politicians such as Biden, Bloomberg and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharSenate committee approves nominations of three FEC commissioners Scammers step up efforts to target older Americans during pandemic Hillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk MORE (D-Minn.) over the race’s progressive candidates, Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFormer Sanders press secretary: 'Principal concern' of Biden appointments should be policy DeVos knocks free college push as 'socialist takeover of higher education' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Capital One — Giuliani denies discussing preemptive pardon with Trump MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSchwarzenegger says he would 'absolutely' help Biden administration Disney chair says he would consider job in Biden administration if asked Despite veto threat, Congress presses ahead on defense bill MORE (D-Mass.).

Political observers say they expect more donors to turn away from Biden if he continues to slip.

“I think Biden is struggling because now the weak performance is starting to become real,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor of public affairs and history at Princeton University, who added that Buttigieg and Bloomberg are “offering very real moderate alternatives.”

“If he is shaky on Super Tuesday, I imagine the money would dry up pretty quickly,” Zelizer added. 

Adam Parkhomenko, who founded the pro-Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillary and Chelsea Clinton to host series based on their book 'Gutsy Women' Democrats see spike in turnout among Asian American, Pacific Islander voters Biden officially announces ex-Obama official Brian Deese as top economic adviser MORE super PAC Ready for Hillary ahead of the former Democratic nominee's 2016 run, agreed, saying that Biden now has to walk a tightrope with fundraisers. 

He noted that Biden has never been a big grassroots fundraiser.

“His challenge is even harder now,” Parkhomenko said. “It’s this balance of saying ‘Wait till Super Tuesday,' while also being able to meet the demands and resources of getting to Super Tuesday.” 

With just a few days before the New Hampshire primary, Biden has sent out a string of fundraising emails asking supporters for help. 

“We’ll keep this brief. If we don’t hit our $600,000 debate fundraising goal by tomorrow night, we could enter the New Hampshire weekend without the resources we need to succeed,” the campaign said in one email sent Thursday. 

A second email Friday morning asked supporters to contribute $5 to the campaign. 

“Joe Biden is our best chance to make Trump a one-term president,” the email said. “He’s the only one defeating him in key battleground state polls that Democrats have to win in November. But first, we need to get through this primary—and we have MUCH less cash on hand than other candidates.” 

In recent days, Biden cancelled an ad buy of $119,000 in South Carolina, one of the early states where he has maintained a sizable lead over his competitors. 

At the same time, a pro-Biden super PAC announced plans this week to spend just under a million dollars worth of ads in New Hampshire in support of the former vice president. 

The super PAC might also have to throw in money to contend with Sanders, who is set to spend more than $5 million on television and digital ads in states including South Carolina, North Carolina, Colorado and Tennessee. 

A number of big money donors who are not yet locked down with Biden have also been on the receiving end of calls from the Buttigieg and Bloomberg campaigns. 

“I like Joe a lot but I want to find the right candidate who can win,” one fundraiser said.