By Karl Evers-Hillstrom, Open Secrets
September 21, 2020
In a matter of months, Democratic nominee Joe Biden erased President Donald Trump’s once-massive financial advantage that he’d been building up since the early days of his presidency.
Some Democratic strategists called Trump’s mountain of campaign cash “insurmountable.” But record-smashing fundraising by the Biden campaign — and free spending from the Trump camp — helped Democrats catch up and actually surpass the Republican reelection effort.
Biden’s campaign raised $210 million in August, more than tripling the Trump campaign’s $62 million haul, according to Federal Election Commission filings. Biden banked $80 million while Trump only saved $8 million, allowing Biden to report more cash on hand for the first time this cycle.
Democratic nominee Joe Biden outraised President Donald Trump in August and banked $80 million, giving his campaign more cash on hand for the first time this election cycle.
Biden’s August haul is particularly large because the Biden Victory Fund — a joint fundraising committee between Biden’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee — transferred nearly $52 million to the campaign. Between all presidential committees, including political parties and joint fundraising committees, Biden’s edge is even larger, sitting on $466 million to Trump’s $325 million, according to numbers released by the campaigns.
Democrats have enjoyed unprecedented fundraising this cycle amid supporters’ fervent opposition to Trump. That enthusiasm helped Biden rake in nearly $65 million from small donors — excluding money from donors to his joint fundraising committee — in August alone, bringing his total from small donors to $204 million. That’s already almost twice the amount of small donor cash 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton raised through the entire election cycle. It’s in addition to an influx of campaign cash from wealthy Wall Street donors.
The 2020 election was upended last week by the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who served on the high court for 27 years. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) released a statement shortly after her death stating Trump’s nominee to replace the liberal justice would get a vote before the full Senate. That announcement only bolstered Democrats’ fundraising prowess. Democratic fundraising firm ActBlue announced it raised $100 million for Democratic candidates within a day and a half of Ginsburg’s passing.
The sudden Supreme Court battle occurring less than two months before Election Day could change the dynamic of the 2020 election. Whether Democrats can spend all of their money in time is another question. Voters are already casting their ballots in key swing states such as Pennsylvania, Minnesota and North Carolina. Still, Biden has outspent Trump on TV ads up to this point, and he’s gotten far more support from outside groups. Plus, his campaign has almost unlimited resources to target potential supporters who have not yet registered to vote with online ads.
If all votes were cast today, Biden would have an advantage, according to polls. FiveThirtyEight gives Biden a 6.8-point lead over Trump nationally, and Biden enjoys a modest lead in each of the major swing states.