As the 2024 presidential election looms, President Joe Biden and leading Republican candidate Donald Trump are neck-and-neck in the financial race, according to newly released financial disclosures. Biden’s re-election campaign ended last month with approximately $20 million in the bank, just trailing Trump’s reported $22 million. The disclosures, filed with the Federal Election Commission, indicate a competitive money race in the coming months.
Biden’s War Chest and Historical Comparisons
Compared to past presidents at this stage in their re-election campaigns, Biden’s war chest appears smaller. In 2011, Democrat Barack Obama had $37 million, while Trump boasted over $56 million in June 2019. Despite this, Biden’s campaign, when including the Democratic Party’s accounts, announced a total of $77 million in the bank, highlighting the broader financial support behind his re-election effort.
Challenges in the Democratic Nomination Contest
Biden is not expected to face a serious challenge in the Democratic nomination contest. The two challengers who have emerged, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Marianne Williamson, have raised modest amounts, indicating Biden’s strong position within the party.
Trump’s Spending and Other Republican Candidates
Trump’s campaign, launched in November, has already spent approximately $9 million in the three months leading up to June, more than any other campaign. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who ranks second to Trump in most polls for the Republican nomination, has approximately $12 million in his campaign account, while fellow Republican Tim Scott, a US senator for South Carolina, has $21 million. Long-shot candidates Doug Burgum and Vivek Ramaswamy have disclosed injecting millions of their own money into their campaigns.
The Battle for Small-Dollar Donors
While Biden has seen success in fundraising events with wealthy Democrats, his small-dollar online donations have yet to surge. During the three-month fundraising period ending June 30, the campaign and the Biden Victory Fund collected $10.2 million from small donors, significantly less than President Obama’s campaign in 2012.
The decline in small-dollar donations has been attributed to factors such as email data privacy changes by tech giants Google and Apple, donor fatigue, and a lack of the same level of enthusiasm seen during the 2018 and 2020 elections.
The Biden Campaign’s Dependency on Wealthy Donors
Despite highlighting its grassroots donor operation, Biden’s finance reports reveal a greater dependence on wealthy donors compared to Trump’s re-election bid and his Democratic opponents in the 2020 primary. A small number of high-dollar donors, including Jeffrey Katzenberg and Reid Hoffman, contributed significant sums to the Biden Victory Fund, emphasizing the importance of wealthy contributors to the campaign’s financial success.
Future Forward Super PAC Takes the Lead
To secure large sums of money from supportive billionaires and multimillionaires, Biden and his advisors are elevating Future Forward, a new outside group, as the leading super PAC for his re-election campaign. This move aims to consolidate financial support and further bolster the campaign’s fundraising efforts.
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As the financial race continues to intensify, both Biden and Trump face the challenge of mobilizing donors and ensuring sufficient funds for their respective campaigns. With the 2024 election on the horizon, the battle for financial resources will play a crucial role in shaping the candidates’ strategies and overall electoral success.
(With inputs from Reuters)