The 2020 presidential election is more than a year away, but candidates are zig-zagging the country to line up support, both in terms of votes and contributions. Currently, Sen. Bernie Sanders is leading the Democrats in fundraising. And so far, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, California Rep. Eric Swalwell, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee have dropped out of the 2020 election race, despite raising amounts that range from $1.94 million (Moulton) to almost $14.9 million (Gillibrand).
Still, many candidates remain in the field, including President Donald Trump and one recent convert to the GOP who has also raised a pretty penny. Using fundraising data from the Federal Election Commission (accurate as of Aug. 21), GOBankingRates looked at all 18 of the remaining 2020 presidential candidates who have raised at least $1 million.
Bill de Blasio
- Money raised: $1,087,564.24
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fundraising tactics compelled a campaign-finance watchdog group called the Campaign Legal Center to file a complaint with the Federal Election Commission. The group, which calls de Blasio’s fundraising for the 2020 presidential election a “shell game,” alleges that the campaign and two affiliated political action committees (PACs) enabled wealthy donors to give more than the law allows by shuffling money between the PACs and the de Blasio campaign.
- Money raised: $2,071,211.06
Pundits generally agreed that Montana Gov. Steve Bullock had a good night in the most recent Democratic presidential debate in late July, and much of his performance can be attributed to his work regarding campaign financing. Just before the debate, a federal judge in Bullock’s home state overturned a Trump administration-backed IRS rule that made it easier for so-called “dark money” groups to fund politicians. The rule allowed tax-exempt political groups to withhold the identities of their donors.
- Money raised: $3,070,682.92
Marianne Williamson — author-lecturer-activist-turned-presidential-hopeful — became the most-Googled candidate after her performance at the most recent Democratic debate stoked interest in her campaign. Shortly before the debate, she raised eyebrows with a fundraising email she sent to her supporters. Instead of seeking donations for herself, Williamson sought support for Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel — one of her primary opponents — who had not raised enough to qualify for the July debates.
- Money raised: $3,506,968.46
Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet came out of the gate swinging when he raised $2.8 million in the first two months of his campaign while seeking the Democratic Party nomination. Fellow Coloradan John Hickenlooper raised only $1 million in the second quarter of the year, a fact that likely contributed to the former governor’s decision to drop out.
- Money raised: $4,126,778.09
Julian Castro, who was the secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama, got a big boost from his well-received performance during the first round of debates in June. The following day, the candidate received triple the amount of money that came in during his previous biggest single-day haul.
- Money raised: $5,274,483.57
Entrepreneur and lawyer Andrew Yang’s bid for the presidency has amassed a dedicated online following known unofficially as the Yang Gang. Despite his grassroots support, fundraising dollars weren’t flowing in — until, that is, he turned in a strong performance during the July debate, according to Rolling Stone. Those grassroots followers began reaching for their checkbooks as Yang received $1.1 million in the five days that followed, virtually all of which came from first-time donors.
Roque ‘Rocky’ De La Fuente
- Money raised: $5,682,021.06
Referred to by the Los Angeles Times as a “serial candidate,” Rocky De La Fuente ran for the presidency and the Senate as a Democrat in 2016, but he secured the nomination for both the Reform Party and the self-created American Delta Party instead. This time around, the party-hopping businessman is challenging President Trump for the GOP nomination.
- Money raised: $6,062,974.29
One of 10 candidates still languishing in seven-digit fundraising numbers, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has not yet made the cut for September’s Democratic presidential debates. A combat veteran who holds the distinction of being the first Samoan-American and the first Hindu member of Congress, Gabbard has met the fundraising threshold, but so far doesn’t have the polling numbers to qualify.
- Money raised: $12,470,614.53
Famed rocker and fellow New Jerseyan Bon Jovi recently hosted a fundraiser for Cory Booker. A U.S. senator and the former mayor of Newark, Booker has hit double digits in terms of fundraising, more than doubling Tulsi Gabbard, who is just one spot back on this list.
- Money raised: $12,710,254.28
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar had tallied enough support and enough money to qualify for the September debates by the beginning of August. She was one of just eight qualifying Democrats at the time — the field has grown to 10 in the ensuing weeks. Her most significant single-industry donations — more than $1 million — come from lawyers and law firms.
- Money raised: $13,638,614.48
Rising Democratic star and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke raised $3.6 million in the second quarter alone — an amount more than what four of the candidates on this list have amassed in total. That, however, worried his supporters, as the quarter’s tally represented a steep dropoff in donations. The Beto O’Rourke fundraising team had convinced his supporters to part with $9.4 million in the first quarter.
- Money raised: $22,043,828.95
Joe Biden, the longtime U.S. senator from Delaware who went on to serve as vice president for eight years under former President Obama, is fundraising in what a recent Politico report called a “boom and bust online campaign.” The candidate raised $4.6 million on the very first day of his campaign, but that quickly tapered off. In fact, 60% of the $13.2 million he has raised online came during his campaign’s first week.
- Money raised: $25,090,947.58
Kamala Harris recently took a break from campaigning in Iowa to appear at a sold-out fundraiser hosted by filmmaker Spike Lee, who organized a $38,000-per-ticket fundraiser for Obama in 2012. The California senator, who previously served as the state’s attorney general, took in nearly $2.4 million of her total from lawyers and law firms, her biggest donor industry.
- Money raised: $26,329,775.98
Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney doesn’t have nearly as much name recognition as Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker or Beto O’Rourke, but he’s got each of them beat in terms of cash coming in — enough to put him in the top five of Democratic hopefuls. Delaney recently shook up the highest levels of his campaign staff.
- Money raised: $32,337,553.74
Pete Buttigieg is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and he stands out for his military service and the fact that he’s openly gay. Buttigieg’s diverse background has garnered him unusually broad support, but that support is especially strong in Hollywood, according to a report from Variety in late July. Barbra Streisand, Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow are just a few of well-heeled and well-connected A-listers who have lined up to support the rising Democratic star.
- Money raised: $35,654,983.51
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is a darling of the left and a fundraising powerhouse. One of just four candidates with war chests topping $30 million, she raked in more than $19 million in the second quarter alone. Her strategy of courting small, individual donors has paid off so far. More than $12 million of her quarterly haul came in increments of $200 or less.
- Money raised: $46,491,503.24
Vermont Sen Bernie Sanders, who fought Hillary Clinton to the end in the 2016 Democratic primary, has amassed more money than any other Democratic challenger by more than $10 million. The Bernie Sanders fundraising network recently pulled in more small donations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey than Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren combined, continuing its mastery of grassroots outreach.
- Money raised: $124,369,310.76
President Donald Trump has one thing none of his challengers can possibly match: the incumbency. The office of the presidency is a money magnet, and the Trump campaign has proved skillful in getting the president’s supporters to continue to dig deep. Only three Democratic challengers have raised more than $30 million. The Trump campaign, on the other hand, announced in April that his presidential election campaign fund already had raised $30 million — after just a single quarter of fundraising.
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About the Author
Andrew Lisa has been writing professionally since 2001. An award-winning writer, Andrew was formerly one of the youngest nationally distributed columnists for the largest newspaper syndicate in the country, the Gannett News Service. He worked as the business section editor for amNewYork, the most widely distributed newspaper in Manhattan, and worked as a copy editor for TheStreet.com, a financial publication in the heart of Wall Street’s investment community in New York City.