Democrat Buttigieg's presidential campaign raises $24.7 million in fourth-quarter

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg's campaign event in Indianola, Iowa

(Reuters) - Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg raised $24.7 million in the fourth quarter, his campaign announced on Wednesday, outpacing the $19.1 million he collected in the third quarter.

The hefty total is expected to land him among the top fundraisers in the Democratic field, which has 15 contenders seeking to take on U.S. President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election. U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders had the largest haul in the previous quarter, raising $25.2 million.

Buttigieg, whose term as South Bend, Indiana mayor ended with the start of the new year, raised $76 million in 2019, his campaign said.

With only weeks until voting for the Democratic nomination begins in Iowa, candidates would typically turn their attention away from fundraising and toward meeting face-to-face with voters. The shift in attention makes the fourth-quarter fundraising hauls important to allow campaigns to have sufficient resources to be remain focused on voters, not donors.

Buttigieg has come under recent criticism for his fundraising. Fellow Democratic rival U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren leveled a series of attacks against Buttigieg on the debate stage in December for fundraisers he has held, including one in a Napa Valley wine cave.

Warren, who swore off holding any fundraisers, has accused Buttigieg of being influenced by those who are willing to write big checks, as large as $2,800, to his campaign.

Buttigieg has countered that Democrats need to be willing to fundraise from anyone willing to finance their campaigns so the party can remain competitive in the general election against Trump.

His campaign touted the number of small donations he received. Over the entire year, 98% of donations were smaller than $200 and the average was $38, his campaign said.

His campaign also provided details about how the money is being spent. The campaign staff now exceeds 500 people and he has opened 65 field offices.

Buttigieg has 100 field staff in Iowa and 70 in New Hampshire, the state which votes second, according to his campaign.


(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Andrea Ricci)