6 Democratic candidates pulled in $400 million from donors in 2019

Presidential campaigns filed their end of the year reports for 2019 on Jan. 31, and six top Democratic candidates brought in nearly $400 million for the year from donors, according to FEC filings. Together, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar and Andrew Yang pulled in roughly $133 million in the fourth quarter — 34% of the $388.8 million they collectively raised for the year.

The final quarter of 2019 proved to be the best for almost all the above candidates except for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who brought in $3 million less than she had in the previous quarter. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders pulled in far more than the other Democratic candidates – $34.6 million in the final three months of the year. Sanders has been steadily increasing the gap between himself and the other candidates; he raised roughly $10 million more than Buttigieg, who performed second-best in the quarter.

Sanders ended the year raising close to $109 million, closing the gap behind the Republican incumbent, President Trump. Trump raised close to $144 million in 2019. However, while Trump’s campaign has about $103 million cash on hand, the Sanders campaign started 2020 with just $18.2 million – still besting Buttigieg’s campaign coffers by close to $4 million. 

Buttigieg gaining steam

The race for the second place fundraising spot is being fought between Warren and Buttigieg. While Buttigieg’s campaign brought in less than half of Warren in Q1, he has steadily gained steam throughout the year, pulling in $25.2 million in the fourth quarter. Warren, in contrast, pulled in close to $22 million — a decline from her third quarter totals. 

Warren still raised more in 2019, bringing in roughly $82 million, but Buttigieg is closing in, pulling in nearly $77 million for the year. Buttigieg also has more cash on hand heading into the election year with $14.5 million. Warren currently has $13.7 million.

Despite losing an entire quarter of fundraising, former Vice President Joe Biden maintained fundraising strength throughout the year, also pulling in more than Warren for the fourth quarter with $23 million. For the year, Biden raised $61 million.

But his campaign remains on uneasy ground as his cash on hand numbers continue to fall far behind the other main Democratic contenders. Biden went into the 2020 election year with just $8.9 million cash on hand.

How the top campaigns did in 2019, according to the FEC.

Candidates Andrew Yang and Sen. Amy Klobuchar rounded out the top candidates raising $31 million and $29 million, respectively, during the year. Yang has seen exponential fundraising success throughout the year, starting at just $1.8 million raised in the first quarter and pulling in $16.5 million in Q4, eclipsing the final quarter total of Klobuchar. The Minnesota senator only raised $11.4 million in the final quarter of the year after starting the year pulling in $8.8 million in the first quarter. She entered the election year with some $5 million cash on hand, while Yang had the least among the top candidates with only $3.7 million.

But these figures don’t represent what Democrats have been able to pull in across the board.

In January, fundraising platform ActBlue announced that donors had contributed over $1 billion in 2019. In the fourth quarter alone, donors gave $343 million for candidates on the platform. And of course, there are the Democratic candidates who are self-funding their campaigns: Michael Bloomberg spent $188 million on his campaign in just the fourth quarter last year, while Tom Steyer has spent more than $200 million of his own money in 2019.