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US presidential polls: Trump overtakes Biden in fundraising for first time

Trump's fundraising boost comes on the heels of attending several high-dollar fundraisers, including a Palm Beach event hosted by billionaire John Paulson

Donald Trump, US presidential elections, Joe Biden

Donald Trump, US presidential elections (Photo: Bloomberg)

By Bill Allison

Donald Trump raised more money last month than Joe Biden for the first time in this election cycle, but the president’s campaign still holds a wide financial edge over his Republican rival.
Biden and the Democratic Party raised $51 million in April, compared to the $76 million Trump and the Republican National Committee amassed, according to statements from the campaigns. The president entered May with $192 million cash on hand, more than double what his opponent reported having in the bank. 

Trump’s fundraising boost comes on the heels of attending several high-dollar fundraisers, including a Palm Beach event hosted by billionaire John Paulson, and garnering support from major donors in the oil and gas sector.

The campaigns, political parties and key super political action committees supporting them filed their monthly reports to the Federal Election Commission. Here’s how they stack up:

Joe Biden
  • Biden and the Democratic National Committee raised $51 million in April and ended the month with $192 million cash on hand
  • Future Forward PAC, Biden’s designated super PAC, raised $16 million and had $57 million cash on hand
Biden’s reelection effort has amassed a record amount for a Democratic nominee at this point in the election season. While his April fundraising haul was eclipsed by Trump’s, he still has a sizable advantage in cash on hand. Unlike Trump, who faced an expensive primary campaign, Biden faced only token opposition and has been able to stockpile cash for November.

His major fundraisers in April included an events hosted by Michael Douglas, the actor and film producer who played Gordon Gekko in the 1987 film “Wall Street,” but the campaign’s small-dollar donors accounted for the majority of the haul. Bigger contributors include “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane, Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, Bain Capital’s Josh Bekenstein and hedge fund manager Tom Steyer.

The campaign added one million supporters to its email list in the month. Recurring donors accounted for $5.5 million of the total, and there are 225,000 donors who have committed to contributing every month. 

Biden and the DNC are tapping into the record war chest that his campaign and the Democratic Party have built. They’ve opened 150 field offices in battleground states to get out the vote. The Biden campaign has bought $34 million worth of media since Trump clinched the GOP nomination in March, while the former president has spent less than $70,000 on advertising, according to AdImpact. 

Outside groups supporting Biden, led by his main super political action committee, the Future Forward PAC, have pledged more than $1 billion to back him. LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman gave Future Forward PAC $7 million, while GitHub co-founder Chris Wanstrath gave $500,000.

Pro-Biden super PAC American Bridge 21st Century raised $7.1 million and ended April with $12 million cash on hand. The group, which has pledged to spend $140 million focusing on women and working class voters using research conducted in swing states, received donations of $4.8 million from venture capitalist Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital and $2.6 million from hedge fund manager George Soros’ Democracy PAC.

Donald Trump
  • Trump raised $76 million in April for his campaign and the GOP. His campaign and the Republican National Committee ended the month with $89 million cash on hand
  • His designated super PAC Make America Great Again Inc. raised $12.8 million and started May with $34.5 million
Trump’s first full month of raising money as his party’s presumptive nominee resulted in large donations from prominent donors. Among those writing big checks were Continental Resources’s Harold Hamm, Syed Anwar of Midland Energy and Cantor Fitzgerald’s Howard Lutnick.

Other big donors include investment banker Warren Stephens, real estate and aerospace entrepreneur Robert Bigelow and TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts.

He’s increasingly relying on wealthy donors to narrow the gap with Biden, though his campaign said half of his haul in April came from small-dollar contributors. 

Make America Great Again Inc., Trump’s allied super PAC, got a $10 million contribution from investor Timothy Mellon and $1 million from Hamm’s Continental Resources. The Republican Jewish Coalition raised another $1 million for the super PAC. Hamm is co-hosting a fundraiser Wednesday for the super PAC in Texas.

Save America, the leadership PAC that pays most of Trump’s legal bills, took in $9 million, $6 million of which was transferred from an entity that raises money from small-dollar donors. It spent $4.3 million, including $3.3 million for legal fees. It ended April with $8.8 million in the bank.

Trump has been sidelined from the campaign trail in a criminal trial in Manhattan that entered its sixth week on Monday. Prosecutors accuse him of falsifying business records related to hush money payments made in the 2016 election, allegations that he denies. 

Robert F Kennedy Jr
  • Kennedy raised $10.7 million in April and started May with $10.1 million cash on hand.
  • His allied super political action committee raised $6.2 million and had $20.9 million in the bank.
Picking Nicole Shanahan, the ex-wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, as his running mate has paid big dividends for Kennedy’s longshot independent effort. She donated $8 million to his campaign in April, funding his effort to secure ballot access as he mounts an independent challenge to Biden and Trump. 

American Values 2024, Kennedy’s allied super PAC, received a $5 million contribution from Mellon, who has also donated to Trump’s super PAC, and $1 million from Mark Gorton, founder of high-frequency trading giant Tower Research Capital. 

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First Published: May 21 2024 | 8:54 AM IST

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