The battle for 2020: Possible Democratic presidential candidates
Sen. Kamala Harris raised at least $25,000 from donors in the critical early primary state of South Carolina, more than any other 2020 Democratic candidate in the first three months of the year.
South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg came in second in the state’s money race, collecting more than $18,000 in the first quarter of the election cycle, according to an analysis of newly filed fundraising reports.
Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke brought in more than $14,000, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders brought in more than $12,000. Four U.S. senators — Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Cory Booker from New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand from New York and Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts — raised $5,000 or less.
The South Carolina totals are likely higher for all the candidates, as campaigns are not required to publicly disclose donors who give less than $200. All told, 84 percent of Sanders’ money came from those small donors, compared to 64 percent for Buttigieg and 37 percent for Harris.
Nationwide, Sanders raised a total of $18.1 million in the first quarter, the most of any Democratic candidate. Harris entered the race in mid-January, compared to early February for Booker and mid-February for Sanders.
While South Carolina accounted for a sliver of the totals raised by Democratic hopefuls in the first quarter of the 2020 race, it plays an outsized role in the nomination process as host to the fourth contest in primary season.
Harris and Booker have made South Carolina a major focus of their campaigns. If former Vice President Joe Biden were to enter the race, he would be a strong contender in the state. A poll conducted in late February and early March by Emerson Polling had Biden leading the pack with 37 percent support, followed by Sanders with 21 percent, Harris with 9 percent and Booker with 6 percent.
Sanders lost the 2016 South Carolina primary overwhelmingly to Hillary Clinton.
Many major Democratic donors are staying on the sidelines in the early stages of the 2020 race, waiting to see how the crowded field shakes out in the coming months before choosing a candidate. Some are backing multiple contenders at once while others are waiting for Biden to launch his campaign.