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Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service
Laura Davison and Bill Allison

Who’s winning the money race for president as campaigns heat up

The race for presidential hopefuls to lure donors and build up their bank accounts is in full swing as Republican contenders bulk up their campaigns for a long, competitive primary and President Joe Biden prepares for the general election.

Campaign finance disclosures, due to the Federal Election Commission on Saturday, cover contributions and expenditures from April through the end of June, the period when many candidates announced their plans to run for president. Donor names are a key thing to watch as formal filings trickle in by midnight in Washington.

It’s the first donor reveal since all the major candidates announced. Here’s how they’re faring:

Joe Biden

President Joe Biden kicked off his 2024 reelection effort with a $72 million haul in the second quarter, his campaign said in a statement Friday.

Since formally launching his bid on April 25, Biden brought in more than $1 million per day on average, a pace exceeding that of former President Barack Obama, a mega-fundraiser.

Under a joint fundraising agreement between Biden’s campaign, the Democratic National Committee and state parties, the president is able to accept money in much bigger chunks than his Republican rivals. The maximum donation to the Biden Victory Fund is $929,600, dwarfing the $3,300 individual contribution limit for single campaigns without a broader agreement with the party.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is running as a Democrat in the primary. A son of the late Robert F. Kennedy, he’s unlikely to mount a serious challenge to Biden.

Kennedy, who has promoted numerous conspiracy theories and falsehoods over the years, did raise nearly $6.4 million. Among his donors are Airbnb Inc. co-founder Joseph Gebbia and Pershing Square Capital Management founder Bill Ackman.

Donald Trump

Former President Donald Trump raked in more than $35 million in the second quarter as an army of small-dollar donors rallied to his side even as his legal woes mounted.

The money was raised through the Trump Save America Joint Fundraising Committee, which splits donations between his campaign and his leadership political action committee.

Trump is the front-runner for the GOP nomination with 53% support in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls.

Ron DeSantis

Ron DeSantis raised more than $20 million during the second quarter, putting him in second place in the GOP money race. He remains a distant second to Trump in the polls, with 20.6% average support.

The super PAC supporting DeSantis says it has taken in another $130 million since March, some of which includes funds that DeSantis had left over from his 2022 reelection as Florida governor.

Nikki Haley

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley raked in $26 million in the second quarter, including $7.3 million in direct donations. That demonstrates support from donors despite persistently low poll numbers hovering around 3%.

The super PAC supporting Haley, Stand For America Fund Inc., raised $18.7 million from April through June, bringing her overall total to $26 million.

Mike Pence

Former Vice President Mike Pence raised a little less than $1.2 million in the first 24 days of his campaign, a weak showing in the crowded GOP primary field. The campaign spent less than $75,000 and ended June with $1.1 million cash on hand. It got $347,000 from small-dollar donors who gave less than $200, a category often seen as a key measure of grassroots support.

Pence donors include influential, deep-pocketed donors such as Fisher, former Republican National Committee chairman and well-known Washington lobbyist Haley Barbour and Alliance Resource Partners LP chief executive officer Joe Craft.

Still, fundraising could be a problem for Pence, a former governor of Indiana who raised a total of $19.4 million for his campaigns there. He’s ranking ranks third in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls at 6.3%, well behind Trump, Pence’s former boss. In a contest where GOP campaigns and super PACs have already spent an unprecedented $68 million on media, Pence will need raise a lot more to maintain his position.

Vivek Ramaswamy

Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy took in $7.7 million in the second quarter, including $5.4 million that came from his own pockets. After spending $8 million, he ended June with $9 million in the bank. Since launching his campaign, he’s put $16 million of his own money into the effort.

Ramaswamy tweeted that he had 65,000 unique donors, more than enough to qualify for the GOP debate stage, but they haven’t provided him with much money. He raised $2.3 million from other donors, including $1.2 million from contributors who gave less than $200. He’s currently at 3.1% in the Real Clear Politics average of national polls, good for sixth place.

Tim Scott

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott raised $6.1 million in his campaign’s first 40 days, a haul that puts him below other candidates in the crowded Republican field.

A super PAC supporting Scott also brought in $19 million over the past quarter. The Scott campaign ended June with $21 million cash on hand, which includes money left over from his Senate campaign.

Doug Burgum

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, who’s largely self-financing his long-shot presidential campaign, took in $11.7 million during the quarter, of which $10.2 million was from his personal fortune.

The campaign said it ended June with $3.5 million cash on hand. Best of America, the super PAC supporting Burgum’s campaign, also said it raised more than $11 million from its launch in early June through the end of the month.

Burgum, whose wealth stems from a software business he sold to Microsoft Corp., has taken a unique approach to soliciting donations: offering $20 gift cards in exchange for a $1 donation. This money-losing scheme is a tactic for Burgum to garner enough individual donors in order to make the first GOP debate, which requires candidates to have at least 40,000 individual donors.

Chris Christie

Former New Jersey governor and prominent Trump critic Chris Christie raised more than $1.6 million in the second quarter, according to a release from the campaign. The super PAC aligned with Christie raised about $5.9 million, bringing his total to $7.5 million since he launched in early June.

The campaign ended the quarter with nearly $1.6 million cash on hand. The campaign announcement listed Tudor Investment Corp. founder Paul Tudor Jones, Appaloosa Management LP founder David Tepper, and former New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon, and KKR & Co. co-executive chairman Henry Kravis as supporters, but didn’t specify if they donated or give amounts.

Francis Suarez

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez raised nearly $950,000 in the first two weeks of his presidential campaign, but the real strength in his bid is in the more than $12 million generated by two super political action committees supporting his candidacy.

Suarez wouldn’t say how close he is to meeting the 40,000-donor threshold for the Republican candidates’ debate in Milwaukee next month, and he has polled no higher than 1% in any national poll.

Asa Hutchinson

Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has failed to find much success in the polls or with donors. He raised about $500,000 in the second quarter, significantly less than his opponents.

Hutchinson also raised money through two other entities for a total of $743,000, falling far short of the funds he would need to fuel a presidential campaign. Hutchinson has been an outspoken critic of Trump and has called for the Republican Party to return to conservative principles in place before Trump was in office.

Will Hurd

Former Texas Rep. Will Hurd, a moderate from a swing district along the border with Mexico, raised $274,000 after launching his campaign late in June. Hurd, who stepped down from the board of ChatGPT maker OpenAI before becoming a candidate, launched his campaign by calling Trump a “lawless, selfish failed politician” who cost Republicans in 2020 and 2022 and would get Biden reelected in 2024.

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