Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign announced early Wednesday morning that the former South Bend, Ind., mayor hauled in more than $24.7 million in campaign cash during the October-December quarter of fundraising in 2019.
The haul by Buttigieg – who becomes the first Democratic presidential candidate to reveal his or her fourth quarter figures – is roughly equal to the $24.8 million he raised in the April-June quarter, when he outpaced the large field of White House hopefuls. Buttigieg’s fundraising dipped in the July-September quarter, when he brought in $19.1 million.
Buttigieg’s campaign touted that the fourth quarter haul brought to more than $76 million the total amount raised by the mayor since launching his campaign early in 2019. It also comes as Buttigieg on Wednesday officially became a former mayor, as his term in South Bend expired at noon.
Thanks to his fundraising prowess and his surge in polls in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire, the mayor – once the longest of long shots – has soared to top-tier status for the Democratic nomination, joining former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
In announcing the report, campaign manager Mike Schmuhl highlighted that “these figures are even more astounding considering that Pete started this race less then a year ago as an unknown candidate, with just a few staffers and zero dollars in the bank.”
The campaign reported that 326,000 individuals contributed to the campaign in the fourth quarter, with an average donation of roughly $33. In the entire year, the campaign said it received more than 2 million contributions from 733,000 individual donors.
Campaigns wanting to showcase their fundraising figures will blast out their final numbers later on Wednesday or in the coming days, as campaigns with lackluster cash hauls typically will wait until the end of January deadline to report their figures to the Federal Election Commission.
After a dismal third quarter of fundraising – when he hauled in just $15 million – Biden should see an end-of-year boost.
“We have the chance to make Q4 our biggest fundraising quarter yet. That would certainly be a big deal,” he said Sunday in a fundraising email to supporters.
Biden's best fundraising quarter to date was the April-June period, when he brought in $21.5 million in the nine weeks after he declared his candidacy in late April.
Sanders raised $25.3 million in the third quarter, besting every other Democratic White House hopeful.
The populist independent senator from Vermont tweeted on Monday, “We are closing in on an incredible 5 million donations before our end-of-quarter deadline.”
And in Iowa on Monday night, Sanders noted that "the average contribution is about $18 apiece."
He had 3.3 million individual contributions at the end of September. Do the math, and that means roughly 1.7 million donations in the past three months. Multiply that by the contribution average, and the senator should top his third-quarter haul.
But for Warren, a decline in national and early voting state polls in November and December was expected to be accompanied by a dip in campaign donations.
Warren raised nearly $25 million in the third quarter but appeared to be scrambling to reach $20 million in the fourth, as her campaign made the unusual move of releasing its total to date early in order to drum up more cash.
“So far this quarter, we’ve raised a little over $17 million. That’s a good chunk behind where we were at this time last quarter,” an email sent Friday from the Warren campaign read. "Elizabeth Warren needs your help. Right now. The goal is $20 million for the quarter — that's how much the campaign needs to keep our plans on track.”
Tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang – a long shot for the nomination who’s risen in the polls and consistently made the debate stage – is also expected to top his $10 million third quarter haul, which was his best to date.
“We expect to raise more than $12.5 million, at least 25 percent more than the previous quarter,” Yang national press secretary S.Y. Lee told Fox News.
But Yang told Fox News in New Hampshire on Tuesday that he'll top that estimate.
"We’re going to top that, he said as he laughed. "We soft-balled it a little bit."
And the candidate touted that fundraising figures show that his "campaign’s growing very, very quickly, growing faster than any other campaign in the field."
Campaign cash, along with public opinion polling, is a crucial barometer of a candidate’s popularity and a campaign’s strength. Fundraising dollars can be used to run TV, radio and digital ads, beef up grassroots voter outreach, and build up staff. And the fourth quarter fundraising figures – the last quarterly report before Iowa kicks off the primary and caucus presidential nominating calendar on Feb. 3 – will be heavily scrutinized by political pundits.
“Fundraising numbers at this time in the primary calendar only heighten a campaign's strengths and vulnerabilities going into Iowa,” said Democratic operative Michael Ceraso, a veteran of the 2016 Sanders campaign who served as Buttigieg’s New Hampshire state director before parting ways with the campaign this past summer.