WASHINGTON — Vice President Joe Biden raised $15.2 million in the third fundraising quarter, his team announced Thursday, a less-than-stellar number that put him behind some of his primary rivals as he struggles to maintain front-runner status.
That fundraising haul from July through September is lower than the $21.5 million Biden brought in during his first three months in the race. It’s also significantly less than the $25.3 million that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) raised during the last three months — and even fell short of South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s (D) impressive $19.1 million haul during the same period.
“We haven't raised what a lot of people have — we got started way later than everybody else — but we’ve raised, this last quarter, $15 million, in the middle of summer,” Biden said at a Thursday evening fundraiser in California, according to a pool report.
The mediocre haul is the latest sign that Biden is struggling with generating base excitement about his race, as he’s seen Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) catch up to him in national polling, with her and Sanders running even with Biden in some key early-state polls. Warren has yet to release her third-quarter fundraising number.
During the same period, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) brought in $11.6 million, businessman Andrew Yang raised $10 million and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) raised $6 million.
Biden’s team framed it as plenty of money to execute their game plan — the most important factor in fundraising.
“The question any campaign faces at this point is whether or not you have the resources to compete in early states and sustain your efforts beyond. Our campaign unequivocally does and builds on our strength each week,” Biden Campaign Manager Greg Schultz insisted in a statement.
Summer is indeed a tough time for candidates to raise money, especially ones like Biden who are more dependent on large-dollar donors. The Trump impeachment scandal also overshadowed the final week of the fundraising quarter, though since he was going after Biden during that time there were opportunities for the vice president to cash in on his attacks.
The numbers are unlikely to instill confidence in establishment Democrats who were hoping that Biden would use his deep ties in the party and strong name I.D. to outpace his rivals heading into a crucial stretch of the 2020 Democratic primaries.
Cover: Former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaks during a gun safety forum Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)