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Klobuchar, Warren end 2019 lagging top rivals in fundraising

Klobuchar said Friday that she took in $11.4 million for her White House bid to close out the year. It was the best fundraising quarter of her campaign.
Credit: AP
Sen. Amy Klobuchar D-Minn., speaks during the 37th annual HRC New England dinner on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019 in Boston. The HRC New England dinner brings hundreds of LGBTQ advocates and allies together for an evening of celebration across greater New England. (Josh Reynolds/AP Images for Human Rights Campaign)

WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential hopefuls Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren believe they're in the thick of things when it comes to the battle to be the Democratic nominee for president in 2020. 

When it comes to fundraising money in their coffers, however, the two lag behind their top rivals. 

Klobuchar said Friday that she took in $11.4 million for her White House bid to close out the year. It was the best fundraising quarter of her campaign.

Warren, for her part, announced that she raised $21.2 million from October through December, with more than $1.5 million coming on the last day of the year. The Massachusetts senator trailed three other rivals in fundraising and fell short of her total from the three previous months.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, the strongest progressive voice along with Warren, said he raised morethan 34.5 million in the same quarter, proving that hisheart attack in October hasn’t slowed his fundraising prowess. Sanders and Warren both rely heavily on small donations from donors that primarily come online.

Former Vice President Joe Biden rebounded from a summer slump to take in $22.7 million, his best quarterly haul as a presidential candidate, while Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, raised $24.7 million. Both typically use more traditional fundraising methods, including frequent gatherings with big donors that Warren and Sanders have shunned.

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who has not met the polling requirement to qualify for an upcoming Democratic presidential debate scheduled for Jan. 14 , announced receiving $16.5 million.

Klobuchar said 145,126 people donated between September and December, with an average contribution of $32. Campaign manager Justin Buoen struck a similar tone to Lau's saying a “massive surge in grassroots support." He attributed that to the Minnesota senator's strong performances in fall debates, which he said helped the campaign double its staff in Iowa and New Hampshire, where voters cast the first votes for the Democratic nomination beginning Feb. 3, and invest in the next two states — Nevada and South Carolina. The campaign also is spending money in states that will vote in the March 3 Super Tuesday contests.

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In the third quarter last year, Warren raised $24.6 million as months of strong, summer polling lifted her to front runner status along with Biden and Sanders. But lately, Warren’s support has plateaued as Buttigieg has vaulted among the front runners. Warren and Buttigieg have feuded for weeks about fundraising tactics, but Warren’s latest donations total further suggests her overall momentum is slowing.

It could have been worse. In an email to supporters last week, Warren’s campaign said it had raised only about $17 million with just a few days to go in the quarter. In a similar message Friday, Warren campaign manager Roger Lau said the senator's average contribution was $23, proving the grassroots nature of her appeal.

Lau wrote that, all told last year, nearly 1 million donors provided more than 2.7 million contributions to raise more than $71 million for Warren.

The large numbers for so many Democratic presidential hopefuls are a sign that the fight for the party's nomination could continue for several months, making it difficult for candidates who don't have strong campaign funding to stay in the race to replace President Donald Trump.

Trump's campaign says it raised $46 million during the last quarter and had more than $102 million cash on hand. The size of the Democratic candidates' campaign bank accounts won't be clear until the Jan. 15 federal reporting deadline.

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