democratic primaries

The Candidate Who Raised Only $5 and Other Third-Quarter Fundraising Facts

When it comes to fundraising, Biden is well behind his two fellow front-runners. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Tuesday, October 15, marked the deadline for presidential candidates to submit third-quarter fundraising reports to the Federal Election Commission. Some got out ahead of the deadline by releasing their fundraising hauls early. Others, such as Wayne Messam, the little-known Democratic mayor of Miramar, Florida, and for some reason also a presidential candidate, did not.

But with the deadline comes full reports from all of the candidates and a clearer picture of where they stand, money-wise, 110 days before the Iowa caucuses. The top-line figure is total money raised and Bernie Sanders led in the third quarter by bringing in $25.2 million. His Senate colleague, Elizabeth Warren, was not far behind with $24.6 million. Pete Buttigieg surprised with $19.1 million, Joe Biden disappointed with $15.7 million, and Kamala Harris rounded out the top five with $11.7 million.

There are some other noteworthy nuggets buried in these reports, including:

Wayne Messam raised just $5.

You could have watched every minute of every presidential debate so far and never known that Messam is running for president. But he is. The mayor of Miramar, which is bigger than South Bend, reported raising just $5 in the third quarter. On the plus side, that’s five more dollars than he spent.

Joe Biden’s bank account is dwindling.

The former vice-president doesn’t just trail Senators Sanders and Warren in fundraising, he trails them in amount of money on hand. With $8.98 million in his bank account, Biden is also lagging behind Buttigieg and Harris.

Politico explains that the problem is tied to Biden’s reliance on big-money donors:

As Biden’s campaign spending picked up over the summer, his reliance on maximum donors — who can give only once and are not a renewable campaign resource — meant that his fundraising could not keep pace. More than one-third of Biden’s contributions came from maximum donors in the second quarter, and max-out donors composed a similar portion of a smaller pie for Biden this quarter.

That could also explain why Biden was underwater in the third quarter, spending nearly $2 million more than he brought in.

Ten candidates spent more than they brought in.

It’s never good when you spend more money than you make, and that’s what ten candidates did last quarter. But the candidate whose numbers were the most mismatched is Amy Klobuchar. The Minnesota senator spent $7.8 million and brought in $4.8 million. That’s good for a 162 percent burn rate.

Tom Steyer is his own biggest fan.

The California billionaire spent big in the third quarter after getting into the race in early July, dropping a staggering $47 million, a sum that the L.A. Times says “places him on track to join the biggest self-funding political candidates in American history.” The $47 million is nearly all of the $49.6 million that Steyer brought in during the third quarter. Who did the money come from? Nearly $1.5 million from small donors, a half million from large donors, and $47.6 million from Steyer himself.

The Candidate Who Raised Only $5 and Other Fundraising Facts