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Five Takeaways From the Money Race Shaping 2024 Elections

Shocker. When Trump gets indicted, his money raising goes up! Unless Joe has a massive stroke, he's getting another term. The odds of him continuing to be able to walk and chew gum? Anyone's guess.

Five Takeaways From the Money Race Shaping 2024 Elections

New campaign-finance data indicate a tightening Republican primary while Trump’s legal woes boosted his fundraising

By Jack Gillum and Anthony DeBarros, WSJ


July 16, 2023 1:12 am ET

New campaign-finance data show that Republican presidential contenders are drawing from a broad base of donors and could challenge President Biden’s fundraising prowess.

The reports out this weekend add more details on how well-known political figures raised and spent money from April through June. The new data don’t offer a complete account of candidates’ financial support. Super PACs, which can raise and spend unlimited sums of money, don’t have to submit figures until the end of July.

Here are the highlights from candidate campaigns’ reports to the Federal Election Commission.

Trump, DeSantis lead GOP fundraising

Former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis reported their donations in the most recent quarter reached eight figures, leading the Republican field. They and Sen. Tim Scott (R., S.C.) topped the GOP cash-on-hand list.

The former president’s campaign committee reported receipts of $17.7 million, most of it transferred in from a joint-fundraising account, a separate fundraising effort. The Trump campaign previously said its total fundraising in the quarter—combining the campaign and fundraising account—was $35 million.

DeSantis raised $20 million, mostly from large donors. Only about 15% came from donors who gave $200 or less, among the smallest percentages for GOP hopefuls. (DeSantis’s figures are for only the six weeks after his May presidential announcement.)

Scott reported raising $5.9 million and ended the quarter with $21.1 million on hand.

Other Republicans vying for the nomination reported lower figures. Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy lent his campaign $5 million, bringing his total loans to about $15.3 million. Even so, his campaign spent about $337,000 more than it took in during the quarter, leaving about $9 million in cash on hand by July.

Nikki Haley, Trump’s United Nations ambassador and the former South Carolina governor, had about $6.8 million in the bank after raising $5.3 million.

Biden far outpaces long-shot rivals

Biden’s campaign committee reported raising about $19.9 million, leaving him $77 million in the bank when including fundraising from additional Biden-related committees. Biden’s campaign said it was the largest amount amassed by a Democratic candidate at a comparable point in the campaign. Biden’s team is still putting together its campaign infrastructure, with about a dozen officials working out of the DNC’s headquarters in Washington.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Marianne Williamson launched long-shot efforts to unseat Biden as the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee. Their fundraising efforts suggest some parts of the American electorate want a different Democrat than the incumbent.

Kennedy reported raising $6.4 million in the second quarter, about 36% of it from donors who gave $200 or less. He ended June with $4.5 million in cash. Williamson raised about $920,600 but ran a $135,000 deficit in the quarter and ended with just $105,000.

Trump’s indictments were good for donations

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A Trump fundraising email blasted “136 YEARS IN PRISON, maximum sentence,” just days after a Manhattan grand jury indicted the former president. Prosecutors charged Trump with falsifying business records as part of hush-money payments to a porn star. “Please make a contribution to SAVE AMERICA,” Trump continued.

In the days following the New York indictment on March 30, Trump pulled in more than $4 million in donations from individual contributors. More than two-thirds of them came from small-dollar donors across the country, reflecting Trump’s popular support among Americans amid his legal challenges.

That trend was repeated following his June federal indictment for allegedly mishandling classified documents. Within days, his campaign racked up more than $2 million in additional contributions.

Allred, Schiff lead Senate money race

Among the candidates vying for Senate seats in 2024, two saw second-quarter receipts top $8 million: Rep. Colin Allred of Texas and Rep. Adam Schiff of California.

Allred, a Democrat who aims to challenge incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), pulled in $8.8 million in the quarter, ending with $5.7 million on hand. That topped the $3.9 million collected by Cruz, who reported $4.8 million in cash.

Fellow Democrat Schiff on Saturday reported ending the second quarter with $30 million in cash—more than any other Senate hopeful—after tallying $8.3 million in contributions. That sum put him in front of two other California Democrats seeking the Senate nomination: Reps. Katie Porter and Barbara Lee, who collected $3.2 million and $1.1 million, respectively.

Schiff chaired the powerful House intelligence panel before Republicans took control of the chamber this year. The Los Angeles-area congressman has been frequently targeted by Trump and his allies, particularly since Schiff was the lead manager during Trump’s first impeachment. Schiff was censured by the GOP-led House last month.

Challengers outraise George Santos

Fundraising by Rep. George Santos (R., N.Y.) in the second quarter was eclipsed by a Republican challenger and two Democrats who aim to take the New York congressman’s place.

Santos reported $162,000 in receipts for the three months ending June 30, according to his campaign’s filing with the FEC. His campaign spent about $105,800, which included $85,000 to repay loans from Santos. That left his campaign with about $81,300.

At the same time, Kellen Curry, an Air Force Academy graduate challenging Santos in the Republican primary, ended the quarter with nearly $165,000 in cash on hand after raising about $200,700.

Two Democrats running for New York’s 3rd congressional district—Zak Malamed and Josh Lafazan—each did better: Malamed reported receipts of about $418,000, and Lafazan about $202,300.

Santos was indicted in May on federal charges that included money laundering and wire fraud. He has publicly told several falsehoods, including that he attended Baruch College as a volleyball star and was employed by top Wall Street firms.

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