Biden campaign, allies raise $97 million in fourth quarter

Biden campaign, allies raise  million in fourth quarter

WASHINGTON (Reuters): President Joe Biden’s 2024 re-election team and his Democratic party said on Monday they raised over $97 million in the last three months of 2023, amid polls showing voter concerns over his age, high prices and handling of the Israel-Hamas war.

The Biden campaign attributed the fundraising haul to “strong and growing grassroots enthusiasm;” his campaign has also courted big donors in Washington, Boston and California amid a year-end fundraising blitz.

The money raised October to December surpassed the $71 million Biden and the Democratic Party raised in the prior quarter, and the over $66 million Barack Obama and Democrats gathered over the fourth quarter of 2011 for his successful 2012 reelection bid.

It was bested by the $154 million Republican former President Donald Trump and his Republican party raised in the fourth quarter of 2019, for his failed 2020 reelection bid. Trump and the Republican National Committee haven’t released fundraising numbers for the fourth quarter this year.

“Our democracy and hard-fought basic rights and freedoms are on the line in 2024, and these numbers prove that the American people know the stakes and are taking action early to help defeat the extreme MAGA Republican agenda again,” Biden’s campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said in a statement.

The Biden campaign has raised $235 million since its launch in April.

Biden’s re-election effort had $117 million in cash on hand at the end of December, across several of the party’s affiliated fundraising entities, which the Biden campaign said was the most amassed by a Democratic candidate in history.

The numbers come in as the state-by-state nominating contest set to kick off with Republican caucuses in Iowa on Monday could help seal Trump’s bid to become the Republican nominee to face Biden in November’s general election.

In recent months, the Biden team has faced growing calls to become more active and aggressive in highlighting the contrast with Trump, a pivot Biden has embraced at fundraising events.

Biden accused Trump of sacrificing US democracy for power during a speech marking the third anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, attacks on the US Capitol.

In December, Trump urged his supporters to “go into” Philadelphia and two other Democratic-run cities to “guard the vote” in 2024, repeating his unfounded claims of widespread election fraud in 2020 as justification for the call to action.

Biden’s campaign is searching for better ways to sell Biden’s economic accomplishments, dubbed “Bidenomics”, which has not resonated with voters.

It has focused its resources on boosting grassroots fundraising amid questions around their ability to bring in small-dollar donors, which often signal enthusiasm for a campaign. The campaign said on Monday nearly 1 million supporters have made more than 2.3 million contributions since the campaign launched.

Such donors fueled Biden’s record-shattering $1 billion haul in 2020, with $700 million coming from small online donations.

Fundraising sums announced by Biden’s campaign cannot be directly compared with Republican rivals because they include party accounts controlled by Biden allies.

Republicans have not yet picked a nominee and are spending some of their campaign funds on their fight against each other.

Biden, 81 and Trump, 77, started the election year in a dead heat as many Americans appear to be unenthusiastic about their choices, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released earlier this month.