WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Candidates vying for the Democratic nomination to be U.S. president began on Monday to reveal how much cash they were able to raise in the first quarter of the year – an early test of their ability to organize and build support.
Pete Buttigieg, the South Bend, Indiana mayor who recently saw a bump in his standing in public opinion polls, announced on Monday morning that he raised $7 million in the first quarter.
Buttigieg, who is considered a long-shot for the Democratic nomination, will likely see his fundraising haul dwarfed by many of his competitors.
When Beto O’Rourke, a former congressman from Texas, entered the race he raised $6.1 million in a day. That followed U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, who raised $5.9 million in his first day – and later revealed he had raised $10 million in a week. Senator Kamala Harris reportedly raised $1.5 million the day she launched her campaign.
Candidates are required by law to track and report all campaign donations. Donations collected between Jan. 1 and March 31 must be disclosed by April 15. Candidates are limited to collecting $2,800 from a single donor during the primary process.
The deadline will also put a spotlight on those who have had difficulties raising money, including U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who has struggled to gain any traction in the polls. Media outlets have reported that she has been less than successful in finding financial backing.
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren announced earlier this year that her campaign will not hold any formal fundraising events and instead rely solely on “small dollar” donations, or contributions collected online.
With such a crowded field – more than 15 Democrats have announced they are running – fundraising abilities have become an early way to prove to donors and potential supporters that a candidate is viable.
Additionally, the Democratic National Committee has said a candidate must have raised money from 65,000 different donors in order to qualify for the first debate to be held on June 26 and 27.
Reporting by Ginger Gibson; Editing by Steve Orlofsky