President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the US economy and his administration's effort to revive American manufacturing, July 6, 2023. (Reuters)

US President Biden raised $72 million in second-quarter to open campaign

Biden’s total tops the $35 million that the Republican frontrunner, former President Donald Trump raised in the second quarter.

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the US economy and his administration’s effort to revive American manufacturing, July 6, 2023. (Reuters)

President Joe Biden kicked off his 2024 reelection effort with a $72 million haul in the second quarter, allaying the fears of some big donors that the campaign was off to a slow start.

The total, which far exceeds the amounts raised by his Republican rivals, includes money raised for his campaign, the Democratic National Committee, and state parties. The campaign reported $77 million in cash on hand, which it said “represents the highest total amassed by a Democrat at any comparable point in history, in a statement on Friday.

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Campaigns are due to report detailed information on their finances to the Federal Election Commission on Saturday, which will also reveal the top donors to each campaign.

Biden’s total tops the $35 million that the GOP frontrunner, former President Donald Trump raised in the second quarter and the $20 million that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis raised in roughly six weeks after launching his campaign. Former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley raised $7.3 million, while fellow South Carolinian Senator Tim Scott raised $6.1 million.

Since formally launching his campaign on April 25, Biden brought in more than $1 million per day on average, a pace that exceeds that of former President Barack Obama. Obama raised a record $86 million when his reelection launched in the second quarter of 2011, averaging just under $1 million a day when contribution limits were much lower.

More than 394,000 donors contributed, of whom 30 percent were new, the campaign said. Of the 670,000 individual contributions received, 97 percent were in amounts less than $200, and the average contribution was $39.

Because of a joint fundraising agreement between Biden’s campaign, the DNC, and state parties, the president is able to accept money in much bigger chunks than his Republican rivals. The maximum donation to the Biden Victory Fund is $929,600, dwarfing the $3,300 individual contribution limit for single campaigns without a broader agreement with the party.

The campaign hosted 38 fundraisers since April. Some of the in-person fundraisers had ticket prices of more than $25,000, much more than the $3,300 limit on contributions to the campaign.

The president enjoys the advantages that come with incumbency. With no serious rival for the Democratic nomination, Biden can stockpile his money while Republican challengers spend theirs promoting themselves and attacking opponents in pursuit of the GOP nomination. Political operatives say the general-election campaign will be an expensive and bruising one — especially if Biden ends up in a rematch with Trump.

But while Biden is not facing a costly primary, his fundraising number will be seen as a proxy for voter enthusiasm. Already the oldest US president in history at 80, Biden is plagued by persistently low approval ratings and questions about his health and fitness to serve another four years. Democrats had also expressed concern that Biden was fundraising at a slower pace after launching his campaign.

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