The Hill's Campaign Report: Virus takes toll on campaign fundraising in March

The Hill's Campaign Report: Virus takes toll on campaign fundraising in March
© Getty Images

Welcome to The Hill’s Campaign Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.

We’re Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here’s what we’re watching today on the campaign trail.  

LEADING THE DAY:  

ADVERTISEMENT

When former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Schumer moves to break GOP blockade on Biden's State picks GOP Rep. Cawthorn likens vaccine mandates to 'modern-day segregation' MORE announced at the last Democratic primary debate on March 15 that he had raised $33 million in the first half of the month, he appeared on track to set a fundraising record for the cycle.

He ultimately raked in about $46.7 million over the course of March — his best monthly haul to date, but one that fell just short of the roughly $47.6 million raised by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFranken targets senators from both parties in new comedy tour Pelosi says House members would not vote on spending bill top line higher than Senate's Groups push lawmakers to use defense bill to end support for Saudis in Yemen civil war MORE (I-Vt.) in February. That means that, in the second half of March, Biden raised about $13.7 million, less than half of what he raised in the first part of the month.

As the coronavirus pandemic forces millions of Americans out of work and brings traditional election year activities — in-person fundraisers, rallies and the like — to a screeching halt, campaigns are seeing a slowdown in their pace of fundraising, recent filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) show. 

The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee (RNC) pulled in about $63 million in March, a substantial sum that still fell about $23 million short of the roughly $86 million they raised in February. Trump Victory, which helps raise money for the Trump campaign and RNC, raised about $10 million less in March than it did in February. 

And ActBlue, the Democratic online fundraising platform, saw a roughly 24 percent decrease in the number of its contributions in March after notching roughly 7.3 million in February. 

To be sure, the campaigns aren’t on the brink of financial ruin. Trump’s political network raked in a staggering $212 million in the first quarter of the year. And ActBlue set a record for small-dollar donations between January and March. 

But the slowdown in fundraising underscores the far-reaching impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting economic turbulence. And with no clear timeline for when — or if — things will return to pre-crisis norms, campaign fundraising could prove even more difficult moving forward. 

ADVERTISEMENT

In an email to supporters on Monday night, Biden acknowledged the possibility that fundraising in April may be even harder than March. 

“I know that April may not match March in fundraising, and that’s okay by me,” he wrote. “The world has changed a great deal. It’s unrecognizable at times. Your family and your community need your generosity and strength now more than ever.”

— Max Greenwood

 

READ MORE:

Pandemic takes toll on campaign fundraising in March, by Max

The Memo: Low trust in Trump mars crisis response, by The Hill’s Niall Stanage 

Biden, Trump ponder campaign options in coronavirus era, by The Hill’s Amie Parnes 

 

FROM THE TRAIL:

Biden scored a big endorsement from the United Autoworkers on Monday. The union, which is made up of roughly 400,000 workers, said in a statement to The Associated Press that the U.S. was in need of stability “and more balance to the rights and protections of working Americans.” The endorsement came after President TrumpDonald TrumpUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Trump sues NYT, Mary Trump over story on tax history McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE notably left the union out of his task force to reopen the economy. 

Biden revealed on Monday that he would have no hesitation in picking former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaMichelle Obama looks to mobilize voters for midterms We must mount an all-country response to help our Afghan allies Obamas, Bushes and Clintons joining new effort to help Afghan refugees MORE as a running mate, telling KDKA in Pittsburgh that he would “take her in a heartbeat.” However, the former vice president added that he did not think Obama was interested in the position. The comments come as a speculation grows around who Biden will pick to be his running mate. Biden said earlier that he was considering Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for the position, while former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said she would like to serve as vice president. 

Progressive groups are rallying behind Biden’s campaign at a faster rate than they did with Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 Clinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Attorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty MORE’s 2016 presidential campaign. The Hill’s Rafael Bernal reports that the influx of support is the result of opposition to Trump’s policies and rhetoric, as well as changes in how the Democratic Party has approached Hispanic voters. Latinos are expected to be a critical voting bloc in November’s general election. 

 

PERSPECTIVES:

Gretchen Whitmer: I have made gut-wrenching choices to keep people safe.

Marco Rubio: We need a more resilient U.S. economy.

Bill Scher: Is Biden troubled or teflon?

 

FROM CONGRESS & THE STATES:

Two-thirds of voters in a new poll said they support voting by mail for the November election, according to a new NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll.

ADVERTISEMENT

 

MONEY WATCH:

Biden’s campaign raked in more than $46 million last month, marking the former vice president’s best fundraising month of the campaign. His campaign raised $18 million in February. The latest haul came as Biden collected numerous victories in Democratic primary states, and as the field coalesced around his candidacy. However, Biden is still trailing President Trump, whose campaign, along with the RNC, brought in $63 million in March. 

Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg spent more than $1 billion on his failed presidential campaign, more than both Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and President Trump in all of 2016. Justine Coleman reports.

 

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:

(Keep in mind these dates could change because of the outbreak.)

ADVERTISEMENT

April 28:

Ohio

 

May 2:

Kansas Democratic primary

 

May 12:

Nebraska primaries

 

May 19:

Oregon primaries

 

May 22:

Hawaii Democratic primary

 

June 2:

Connecticut primaries

Delaware primaries

District of Columbia primaries

Indiana primaries

Maryland primaries

Montana primaries

New Mexico primaries

Pennsylvania primaries

Rhode Island primaries

South Dakota primaries

 

June 9:

Georgia primaries

West Virginia primaries

 

June 20:

Louisiana primaries

 

June 23:

Kentucky primaries

New York primaries

 

July 7:

New Jersey primaries

 

August 17-20:

Democratic National Convention

 

August 24-27:

Republican National Convention

 

One hopeful thing 

ABC News anchor George StephanopoulosGeorge Robert StephanopoulosSurgeon general: 'Our enemy is the virus. It is not one another' Christie: Biden's new vaccine mandate will 'harden opposition' GOP senator on Texas abortion law: Supreme Court will 'swat it away' when 'it comes to them in an appropriate manner' MORE announced Tuesday that he will donate his blood plasma as part of a coronavirus study after he was cleared of the virus. 

“Good news for me and my family,” Stephanopoulos said in a tweet. “Last week I tested positive for Covid antibodies, confirming I cleared the virus after weeks without symptoms. I’ve also signed up for a clinical trial to donate my blood plasma and expect to make the donation in the coming weeks.” 

The Hill’s Justine Coleman reports that the studies involving blood plasma are working to create new treatments for those infected with COVID-19 using antibodies from recovered patients. 

Stephanopoulos, who has been anchoring “Good Morning America” from home, tested positive for the virus last week after his wife, Ali Wentworth, revealed she had the virus earlier this month. 

Wentworth exhibited symptoms of the virus, while Stephanopoulos was asymptomatic. 

For more good news, be sure to check out The Hill's Selfless Acts page, where our reporters are detailing how Americans are helping each other through the coronavirus pandemic.

We’ll be back tomorrow with more campaign news of the day.