By Trevor Hunnicutt
NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden took in $22.7 million in the last three months of 2019, his campaign said in a statement on Thursday, a pickup in fundraising just weeks before voters kick off the party’s nominating process.
The figure marks the best fundraising quarter for the former vice president since his campaign launched in April, and represents a rebound from the July-to-September quarter, when Biden netted $15.2 million. That figure had worried some supporters who thought his campaign may not have enough cash to take on both President Donald Trump and Democrats rivals.
Democrats are selecting a nominee to face Trump in the November 2020 election. While Biden, 77, leads in national polls, he faces better-funded campaigns in a competitive race that will be decided state-by-state. Iowa holds the Democrats’ first nominating contest on Feb. 3.
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders raised more than $34.5 million in the last quarter of 2019, while Trump drew $46 million, their campaigns said earlier on Thursday.
Democrat Pete Buttigieg raised $24.7 million in the quarter, while businessman Andrew Yang raised $16.5 million. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren has not yet released her latest fundraising totals.
In a memo to supporters, Biden campaign manager Greg Schultz said “there’s little doubt that Vice President Biden enters 2020 with wind in his sails, but our resource needs will only continue to grow.”
He also said the campaign has been resourceful, avoiding using outside vendors to make advertising videos by producing them in-house instead.
Fundraising has created a demand on Biden’s time. The candidate has split his days between campaigning in early voting states and crisscrossing other parts of the country to attend events with high-dollar donors.
In October, the Biden campaign reversed its opposition to receiving support from super PACs, groups that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money. Shortly thereafter, a super PAC called “Unite the Country” started running millions of dollars in ads supporting Biden. The campaign does not accept money from lobbyists or fossil fuel executives. Sanders and Warren have disavowed super PACs, while Trump has not.
Data suggests Biden’s campaign was significantly outspent on advertisements in mid-December on Facebook and Google by Democratic rivals Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg and billionaire Mike Bloomberg, who is using his own money to fund his campaign.
In its most recent fundraising announcement, Biden’s campaign touted doubling its online fundraising compared to the previous quarter and said much of the support was from small-dollar donors, with an average contribution of $41.
(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bill Berkrot)