With Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' exit from the presidential race this month, Joe Biden is the Democrats' presumptive nominee and the general election campaign has effectively begun -- and the Trump campaign has a massive financial advantage over the Biden campaign.
The Biden campaign announced it raised $46.7 million in March on Monday, marking its best fundraising month of the campaign so far. But filings with the Federal Election Commission show that even with the momentum of having wrapped up the Democratic primary early, Biden and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) trail far behind President Trump and the Republican National Committee (RNC) when it comes to their campaign war chests.
After accounting for debt owed by the DNC, Biden and the DNC have a combined $57 million cash on hand as of the end of March. That pales in comparison to the $240 million the Trump campaign and RNC had in the bank at the end of March, according to a release from the Trump campaign earlier this month.
Trump has an advantage over Biden in that he is the incumbent and the GOP has had over three years to plan for his reelection campaign, whereas Biden has been the presumptive Democratic nominee for just a couple weeks. Trump and the RNC, for example, have a joint fundraising committee -- something that has not yet been set up between Biden and the DNC but is expected to happen in the near future.
But the roughly $180 million advantage for Trump and the GOP underscores some of the challenges the Biden campaign faces as the general election begins to heat up. Biden is essentially sequestered to his home in Delaware for the near future due to the coronavirus pandemic, running virtual fundraising events and communicating with supporters via social media and interviews with the press. Trump, on the other hand, is on national television running his coronavirus task force briefings for often over an hour per day while the massive apparatus of the RNC and his campaign take care of fundraising.
"Americans can see President Trump leading this nation through a serious crisis and they are responding with their continued enthusiastic support for his re-election," Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said when the Trump campaign announced its latest financial update earlier this month. "Joe Biden, Democrats, and the media continue to oppose his every action, but the people know that President Trump is fighting for them so they are fighting for him as well."
Biden, meanwhile, thanked his supporters for propelling him to what was an impressive string of primary victories starting in South Carolina and continuing through Super Tuesday and until he gained such an advantage in delegates that Sanders exited the race.
"It was your support which has made us the presumptive nominee of our party. That is something no one was predicting just a little over a month ago. Many of the so-called experts had declared our campaign over. Not you. You and so many others lifted us up on your shoulders, generated record levels of turnout, and propelled us in state after state to a historic comeback victory," Biden said in an email to supporters Monday.
But he also reduced expectations for his April fundraising haul, which could be diminished due to the constraints on his campaign and the fact that potential donors -- especially the small-dollar donors who Biden said made up much of his March total -- might grasp more tightly onto their wallets with unemployment skyrocketing and the economy ground to a halt because of the coronavirus.
“I know that April may not match March in fundraising, and that’s okay by me. 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,” Biden said.
Biden, since Sanders dropped out of the race, has been endorsed by Sanders and former President Barack Obama, for whom he served as vice president. This continued Biden's trend of getting the Democratic party to coalesce around his campaign.
"Now I am especially proud to say that every one of our primary opponents has endorsed our campaign. We are leading a unified Democratic party to take on Donald Trump," he said in his Monday message to supporters.
Fox News' Paul Steinhauser and Allie Raffa contributed to this report.