The race by Republican presidential contenders to stockpile campaign cash and influential donors ahead of the expensive 2024 primary season is hitting full swing, while President Joe Biden is building a formidable war chest for the general election.
(Bloomberg) — The race by Republican presidential contenders to stockpile campaign cash and influential donors ahead of the expensive 2024 primary season is hitting full swing, while President Joe Biden is building a formidable war chest for the general election.
Latest campaign finance disclosures, due to the Federal Election Commission on Sunday, covered donations and expenses from July through the end of September. The period is normally slow for raising money due to summer vacations but several candidates — including Biden and GOP frontrunner Donald Trump — bucked that trend with strong fundraising this quarter.
Professional sports team owners, including donors with ties to the Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks, were among notable names who gave to candidates.
Donor names and cash on hand are key metrics to watch as the disclosures trickle in by midnight in Washington. Here’s how they’re faring:
- Third quarter total: $71 million
- Cash on hand: $91 million
Biden far out-raised the Republican field with a $71 million haul that includes money for his campaign, the Democratic National Committee and state parties, according to a statement.
That puts him in a particularly enviable position because he doesn’t have to spend money in a primary contest as GOP candidates must.
Biden has yet to file his disclosure with the FEC, which will include the names of the major donors to his campaign.
- Third quarter total: $45.5 million
- Cash on hand: $37.5 million, of which $36 million is for the primary
Trump raised $45.5 million, a total that makes him the clear fundraising winner in the GOP field, where he is also the dominant frontrunner in the polls.
Trump, as well as his GOP rivals Nikki Haley, Tim Scott and Vivek Ramaswamy haven’t filed FEC disclosures yet.
- Third quarter total: $15.1 million
- Cash on hand: $12.3 million, with $1 million in debt. $5 million is designated for use in the primary
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s financial picture is not what it seems at first glance. Debt and campaign contribution limits that restrict some money for use only in the general election means he has limited funds for the primary.
DeSantis relies heavily on donors who give the maximum $6,600, but half of that can’t be used unless he’s the GOP nominee in the general election.
Among those who donated $6,600 to his campaign in the third quarter were Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team owner Ken Kendrick and James Allen, CEO of Seminole Gaming and a former Trump Organization executive.
Small-dollar donors — those who contribute $200 or less — gave DeSantis $2.5 million, or 17% of his total. But DeSantis has one major advantage: the super political action committee Never Back Down supporting him is one of the best-funded groups ever to back a GOP candidate.
- Third quarter total: $11 million
- Cash on hand: $11.6 million, of which $9.1 million is for the primary
Former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley had her most prolific fundraising quarter to date, putting her in a position to challenge DeSantis for the No. 2 spot in the polls.
Donors have been increasingly interested in Haley following two standout debate performances in August and September.
- Third quarter total: $3.8 million
- Cash on hand: $3.9 million
Former New Jersey Governor and prominent Trump critic Chris Christie raised more than he spent and ended September with more than twice what he had at the end of previous quarter.
Christie received the maximum $6,600 donation from Scott Rechler, chief executive officer of real estate giant RXR and a Federal Reserve Bank of New York board member. Billionaire Stanley Druckenmiller and Arizona Cardinals football team owner Michael Bidwell each gave $3,300. Nicole Tepper, wife of Carolina Panthers football team owner David Tepper, gave $3,500. Seth Klarman, the CEO of the Baupost Group who usually supports Democrats, also gave $3,300.
The strong fundraising will propel Christie well into the spring. His campaign is banking on a strong showing in the New Hampshire primary. He is polling at 9% in the state, according to the in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls, which puts him in fourth place, well behind Trump’s 45%.
- Third quarter total: $3.4 million
- Cash on hand: $1.2 million, with $620,000 in debt
Former Vice President Mike Pence spent nearly as much as he brought in and contributed $150,000 of his own money to the campaign, a strong sign he is struggling to raise funds.
Seema Verma, former administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in the Trump administration, and Andrew Puzder, the former Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. executive and Trump’s first choice to head the Labor Department, each gave $6,600. Lobbyist Haley Barbour, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, gave $5,000.
- Third quarter total: $3.4 million
- Cash on hand: $2.3 million
North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, who’s largely self financing his campaign, contributed $2 million of his own money, accounting for nearly 60% of what he raised in the quarter.
Burgum, who made his fortune from selling his software company to Microsoft, can put as much of his wealth into his campaign as he wishes, but needs to attract enough small-dollar donors to qualify for the Republican debate stage. He raised $409,000 from them, about a third of his contributions.
(Updates Ron DeSantis details, adds Mike Pence section.)
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