Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee reported raising a record $365 million in August, surprising even seasoned party fundraisers and putting to rest fears that President Trump would drown him in campaign spending.
The staggering cash haul coincides with Biden naming Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate before the convention. It more than doubles Trump’s $165 million record, set in July, and also eclipses the $193 million raised by Barack Obama in September 2008. Trump has not yet announced his August numbers.
Biden’s campaign made sure to release the numbers just before he held a press conference about school safety and the coronavirus Wednesday, when he took the relatively rare step of answering questions from reporters.
Asked what he was going to do with the money, Biden was quick with a joke.
“You want to go to dinner?” Biden asked.
“Look, what I’m having to spend a lot of it on is to counter the lies that are being told by Trump’s campaign and ‘Swift Boaters’ out there,” Biden said, referring to a new Republican super PAC. “What I’m trying to do is spend most of that, and by the way, I think the average contribution was like $40. We have over 1.6 million people who contributed in the middle of this economic crisis, somewhere between $5, $10, $15. I’d say that shows some genuine enthusiasm about making sure we have a chance at becoming president of the United States.”
Biden’s campaign was already in the midst of increasing his TV media buys. In one new ad, he condemns both “rioting and looting” as well as Trump for fanning “the flames” of the protests. The ad announcement preceded Biden’s decision to travel on Thursday to Kenosha, Wis., which has become ground zero in both the discussion of the protests and the swing state’s politics.
Biden’s campaign anticipated announcing his total on Tuesday, but so many checks from small-dollar donors kept coming in that day that it delayed his team from giving a total until Wednesday.
“We literally couldn’t count the money fast enough. It’s a crazy problem to have,” said one Democratic donor and financier for the Biden campaign who was not authorized to speak on the record.
“Don’t get me wrong: a lot of this is because of Trump. America hates him and people are giving what they can to stop him because they believe,” the donor said. “But you can’t underestimate how well Joe has played this, how important Kamala is to the team or how solid the campaign has been.”
Biden’s new record, pulling in an average of $11.7 million daily, ends any potential speculation that the once-cash-strapped candidate couldn’t raise any money.
Ever since becoming the de facto Democratic presidential nominee in April, when Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his primary campaign, Biden has been steadily closing a once-yawning cash-on-hand gap with Trump. To start August, Biden and the DNC reported having $294 million in the bank compared with $300 million for Trump.
According to the campaign, 95 percent of all donations were from “grass-roots supporters” and that more than $205 million, 57 percent of the money raised, came from online donations.
But it was the topline number that surprised even the candidate.
“That figure blows me away,” Biden said.
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