Elizabeth Warren Raises $19 Million In Second Quarter

Senator Elizabeth Warren raised $19 million despite eschewing the high-dollar fundraisers her opponents have utilized.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren’s campaign announced that it raised more than $19 million in the second quarter of 2019, a figure that puts her just behind Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Vice-President Joe Biden and just ahead of Senator Bernie Sanders when it comes to fundraising for the second three months of the year:

WASHINGTON — Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts raised $19.1 million in the past three months, her campaign said on Monday, a total that places her firmly in the top echelon of the Democratic money race and ahead of her main rival for the party’s progressive wing, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

The fund-raising haul represents a turnaround for Ms. Warren after she raised just $6 million in her campaign’s first three months, before her strategy of eschewing wealthy donors and inundating voters with detailed policy proposals began to pay dividends.

Ms. Warren’s campaign team said her fortunes had begun to turn the last week of March, about a month after her decision to forgo closed-door fund-raising events during the primary campaign.

Ms. Warren’s total for the second quarter, which ran from April through June, is likely to place her third in fund-raising among Democrats over that period.


“We raised more money than any other 100% grassroots-funded campaign,” Roger Lau, the Warren campaign manager, wrote in an email to supporters Monday, taking an implicit shot at Mr. Buttigieg and Mr. Biden, who have raked in money on the traditional fund-raising circuit.

“We raised more money than any other 100% grassroots-funded campaign,” Roger Lau, the Warren campaign manager, wrote in an email to supporters Monday, taking an implicit shot at Mr. Buttigieg and Mr. Biden, who have raked in money on the traditional fund-raising circuit.

“You sent a message that Elizabeth’s vision for the future is worth fighting for,” Mr. Lau wrote. “And you showed the rich and powerful that change is coming — sooner than they think.”

Ms. Warren’s fund-raising total is the latest evidence that her policy-driven strategy is resonating with a growing segment of the Democratic base.

In March, her allies openly questioned her plan to reject high-dollar fund-raisers and rely on grass-roots donors. More specifically, some worried that she would struggle to escape the shadow of Mr. Sanders, who had built a seemingly unmatchable fund-raising juggernaut behind his progressive brand. Ms. Warren’s finance director resigned in March.

Ms. Warren has now bested Mr. Sanders in fund-raising just one quarter later, after months of building momentum. Her growth has been driven by policy announcements that were well-received by progressives, a slew of candidate forums where she earned positive reviews, and moments when she seized on the news of the day — like when she called for President Trump’s the release of the special counsel’s report.

Ms. Warren’s improvement in fund-raising has coincided with a bump in polling. She has ascended within the crowded primary field to an average of about 13 percent in recent national surveys, gaining ground on Mr. Biden and Mr. Sanders.

Ms. Harris, meanwhile, has capitalized on her performance in the Democratic primary debate last month, joining Ms. Warren in the tier behind the race’s two most well-known figures. Ms. Warren’s team, however, has repeatedly dismissed the significance of national polling in the early stages of the race and has said that Ms. Warren is pursuing a state-by-state strategy.

Ms. Warren is expected to continue to try to use policy announcements to create news and drive donations, which will be necessary to sustain her large staff in early primary states. At her campaign’s events in recent months, her “I have a plan” mantra has become a vocal rallying cry among supporters, and proposals like student debt cancellation now elicit sustained applause. Voters repeatedly say that, more than any individual proposal, Ms. Warren’s overall policy focus has helped them believe she is prepared for the office.

But the third quarter is a traditionally difficult fund-raising period, and Ms. Warren must also overcome concerns that linger among Democrats over how she would fare against Mr. Trump in a general election. In a Washington Post/ABC News poll published last week, just 7 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said Ms. Warren had the best chance to beat Mr. Trump next year. (Mr. Biden led on that question, with 45 percent saying he had the best shot.)

With Senator Warren’s announcement, we now have second-quarter fundraising figures from all of the top five candidates. At the top of the list is South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg. who hauled in just under $25 million raised during the second three months of the year. Former Vice-President Biden is in second place with $21 billion raised since he entered the race on April 25th. Warren’s $19 million places her in third place among the top five candidates, and Bernie Sanders is in fourth place, having raised $18 million. Bringing up the rear is Senator Kamala Harris, who raised $12 million, at least $2 million of which came in after the June 27th debate during which she significantly raised her profile with her attack on former Vice-President Biden.

In addition to these numbers, we’ve also gotten some much more modest figures from the candidates at the back of the pack. Senator Michael Bennett of Colorado, for example, reported raising $2.8 million dollars during the quarter, while Montana Governor Steve Bullock reported raising $2 million and former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper reported raising $1 million. So far, we have not seen reports from candidates such as Cory Booker, Beto O’Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, and a host of other candidates. While the campaigns have until July 15th to file their reports with the Federal Election Commission, one can presume from the delay in releasing figures by these candidates that their numbers are less than impressive to say the least.

These fundraising reports are important, of course, because they are a sign of the level of support that the respective campaigns have been able to generate and because, well, you need money to run for President to pay for everything from staff to logistical expenses such as airplane flights, gas for road trips, and other obvious expense. Additionally, fundraising success is one of the measures that the Democratic National Committee uses to determine eligibility for the debates. This could mean that many of the candidates at the bottom of the list, both in terms of polling and fundraising, could see themselves frozen out of the debate at the end of the month as well as third debate in September and those that follow.

As for Warren, it’s hard to deny that this is an impressive fundraising number, especially considering that the candidate herself has set a policy of not appearing at closed-door big-dollar fundraising events. That doesn’t mean that such events benefiting Warren’s campaign have not been held, of course, but it does mean that she has manged to bring in most of this money via grassroots supporters. This would suggest that her policy-based campaign strategy is working, something that is also seen by her rise in the polls to the point where she is within striking distance of pushing Bernie Sanders into fourth place in the RealClearPolitics average. Indeed, in several recent polls, Warren has already done this. These same polls show that Sanders is in danger of slipping into single digits after having spent several months running in second-place behind Joe Biden. If she succeeds in doing that, then the nature of the Democratic race will have changed significantly in a very short period of time.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Gustopher says:

    Her poll numbers, and her donations, are both moving up, at a slow, steady pace. She’s been doing something right. I don’t know if there is a natural ceiling for intelligent candidates, but she seems well positioned to find out.

    Harris got a huge bump out of her debate performance, after a few months of her polls slowly declining, and apparently a big chunk of her fundraising was right after that. I like Harris, and I hope she can reset whatever hasn’t been working so she can hold onto that jump. But, if I were in the Bernie campaign, i’d treat the fact that Harris is now in second as a blip and worry more about Warren.

  2. Teve says: