Unless your name is Michael Bloomberg, fundraising is a pretty important part of any campaign. And, if you haven’t been paying attention, small donors are the new big money.
So far in the 2020 race, according to U.S. Public Interest Research Group, 35.5 percent of all money comes from small donors. That’s actually more than large donors, who fund 34.4 percent.
Moreover, at this point in 2016, small donors gave just under $100 million. This cycle, they’ve given over $191 million, according to the U.S. PIRG report.
Small donor growth has been a problem for Republicans in the past. Sites like ActBlue helped fund the Democrats’ 2018 retaking of the House.
At least in Arizona, however, the state GOP is showing an explosive growth in donations — with a little help from the president.
According to a news release by the Arizona GOP, the party saw a 208 percent increase in online donations over their best month ever.
This included a 194 percent increase in individual donors, 70 percent of which were first-timers. The average donation was $39.
In the news release, the party highlighted two things that helped them break those barriers: a visit from the president and the Republicans’ own answer to ActBlue.
“Following President Trump’s ‘Keep America Great’ rally in Phoenix, Ariz., the Republican Party of Arizona announced it set a new record high in online donations in the month of February,” the Wednesday release read.
“Utilizing the conservative political fundraising platform WinRed, the Republican Party of Arizona crushed its previous digital fundraising record, scoring a 208 percent increase in money raised online in February — 74 percent of which came from small-dollar donors in Arizona — with an average donation amount of $39.”
Considering that Arizona is a a state the Democrats believe is in play and in which they hope to pick up both House and Senate seats, this is great news for the Trump campaign and the Republicans.
Republican Party of Arizona Chairwoman Kelli Ward also noted that the Democrats’ lurch to the left has helped motivate donors during the 2020 election cycle.
“As Arizona enjoys an unprecedented level of economic success, Democrats are running hard to the left on a socialist platform of redistributed wealth, government-run healthcare, and raising taxes on the middle class, proving just how out of touch they are with Arizona voters,” Ward said.
“At the same time, support for President Trump, our Republican candidates, and conservative policies is at an all-time high — and one area we’re seeing that enthusiasm manifest itself is in small-dollar donations to organizations like the Republican Party,” she added.
WinRed racked up $30 million in the third fundraising quarter last year, which ended just as the impeachment process was beginning in October.
WinRed president Gerrit Lansing said that the impeachment process, which was just underway, “helped a lot” in their fundraising efforts.
“It just poured gas on the situation where there is a ton of money being raised in all levels and all campaigns,” Lansing said.
While WinRed hasn’t caught up to ActBlue just yet — their fundraising hauls are in the hundreds of millions of dollars — it’s an impressive start for the platform.
And then there’s President Trump, who has also managed to get plenty of small donors behind him.
So far this presidential cycle, over 50 percent of Trump’s donations have come from small donors who gave under $200.
This is a major shift for the GOP, and it’s one that’s worked out well for them: As of February, the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee had taken in $525 million in this campaign cycle, compared to $580 million for the Democratic National Committee and the entire Democratic field. Keep in mind, that’s all of the candidates — and they’ve burned most of it in the primaries.
In January alone, the Trump campaign and RNC raised $60.6 million.
These are huge hauls, especially when you consider it means they have $200 million cash on hand. That’s a massive advantage over the Democrats.
Fundraising was supposed to be one of the Democrats’ advantages this cycle, especially given the strength of ActBlue. Based on the numbers, both in Arizona and nationally, it doesn’t seem to be following that script exactly.
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