Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Biden and DNC Raise $72 Million

Some of the second quarter fundraising numbers are coming in now. First, the Democrats. Joe Biden and the DNC raised $72 million from April through June, a nice haul. At the end of June, Biden had $77 million on hand. The campaign said that 97% of the donations were for $200 or less. These 390,000 people can be hit up over and over and over for money. By way of comparison, in 2011, Barack Obama raised $86 million in Q2 2011, so Biden is just a tad behind Obama's performance. Not a big deal; we think that fundraising in a Biden-Trump contest really won't be so important. Everybody already has an opinion of both of them and whether a person sees 20 ads for the candidate in an evening of television or 10 really isn't going to change much.

The Republican side is different. For the primaries, fundraising is very important, especially for the lesser known candidates. It gives an indication of how well they are catching on. Also, the RNC rules for making the stage at the first debate require getting 40,000 donors with 200 in each of 20 states. Mike Pence is a case in point. His campaign raised only $1.2 million in the 3 weeks since he formally launched. His super PAC raised another $2.6 million, for an unimpressive $3.8 million total. Admittedly, this wasn't a full quarter, but for a guy who has been in politics his whole life, Pence made a rookie mistake by not waiting until July 1 to announce. He also has not yet reached 40,000 donors. He still has time to do that, though.

Former Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson did even worse. Across all entities, he raised only $743,000 from 6,000 donors. He is in great danger of not making the debate.

On the other hand, Vivek Ramaswamy has raised $7.7 million in Q2. But there is a catch. Most of the money came from Vivek Ramaswamy. Only $2.3 million came from people not named Vivek Ramaswamy. The candidate is a multimillionaire many times over so he can self-fund his entire campaign, but that won't get him on the debate stage. Consequently, some of the rich candidates, namely Ramaswamy and Gov. Doug Burgum (R-ND), are stretching the rules beyond recognition, offering things worth well more than $1 in exchange for a $1 donation. The people who take that up count as donors. If 40,000 people each give $1 and get a $20 gift card, that will cost the candidate $760,000, but for a very rich candidate who wants to get on the stage, that is just a small campaign expense.

Nikki Haley raised $4.3 million in her campaign and another $3 million from allied committees, for a total of $7.3 million. Not bad for someone who is running for vice president. Sen. Tim Scott raised $6.1 million in Q2, although we still have no idea what he is running for. Chris Christie raised $1.6 million. Will Hurd reported $270,000 for Q2. Painful. The numbers for Q3 will be more meaningful because then the first debate will have happened and everyone will have been in for an entire quarter. Also, it is worth remembering that no one stops their campaign because they realize their ideas are no good after all. Campaigns stop when the money runs out.

And now the biggies. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) raised $20 million in Q2. That sounds pretty good, especially compared to these other numbers, and since he wasn't in for the whole quarter, either. However, there are numerous caveats. The vast majority of the money came in the first 10 days he was a candidate, first of all. In addition, about $3 million came from people who hit the per-campaign limit for primaries. Put another way, those people donated $6 million, at $6,600 a pop, and so half the money they donated can only be used for the general election, if DeSantis makes it that far. At the same time, only $3 million came from small donors. In short, DeSantis is effectively being supported by a small number of large donors. That is a dangerous place to be. If that is not enough, the Governor's burn rate is very high, which suggests he's spending a lot of money to bring in that limited number of small donations. Because the cash flow is apparently less than DeSantis expected, he just let about 10 campaign staffers go to save money.

Donald Trump raised $35 million, but that is through a joint fundraising campaign which allowed donations larger than $3,300. Trump doesn't use gimmicks, like $20 gift cards. It's all grift, no gift.

Interestingly enough, dozens of Wall Street executives donated the maximum of $3,300—to beat Trump. Some gave it to DeSantis, some to Nikki Haley, some to Tim Scott, Chris Christie, or others. The message here is that high-level financial leaders don't want another Trump term. Of course, those donors now get to sit on the sidelines and hope one of the non-Trump candidates catches fire. (V)

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