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2020 Democrats fundraise off of Biden's entry into the race

Joe Biden 2020: Former VP runs for president

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who announced that he is running for president Thursday, is considered to be a frontrunner in the early stages of the 2020 Democratic primary. He is consistently at the top of early primary polls, but he has a significant disadvantage: unlike over a dozen of his fellow candidates, Biden raised no money for his campaign in the first quarter of the year.

Biden, whose first event as a candidate will be a closed fundraiser in Philadelphia hosted by Comcast's top lobbyist Thursday, is expected to be a favorite of high-profile Democratic donors. But many of his opponents are already spinning his entry into a reason to boost their own fundraising efforts, asking supporters to make donations to counter Biden's momentum.

"Vice President Biden is officially running. Team -- there is no doubt his decision could shake up the race," Cory Booker wrote in a campaign email to supporters Thursday morning. "The truth is this poses a real challenge for an underdog campaign like ours."

Booker asked his supporters to donate to "help guarantee his spot" on the national debate stage. Booker has already qualified for the debates hosted by the Democratic National Convention because he has polled at 1 percent and above in at least three polls.

Beto O'Rourke sent an email with a similarly dire message, warning that "the former vice president has already been collecting checks from major donors for a week leading up to this launch."

"We aren't starting with the same level of name recognition as Joe Biden. But we can win by making sure every voter is heard and no one is left behind or taken for granted," the campaign email said.

Julián Castro is less than 8,000 donors away from the 65,000 donor threshold that is one of the criteria for qualifying for the debate, a fact he mentioned in his campaign email fundraising off of Biden's entry into the race. However, like Booker, Castro has already qualified by obtaining 1 percent or more in at least three polls. 

"I just watched another frontrunner enter this race," Castro said in a campaign email to supporters. "Look, I know I'm not a frontrunner in this race. But I wasn't born a frontrunner. I didn't grow up a frontrunner. And I know this country wasn't built by frontrunners either."

Kamala Harris wrote in an email to supporters that she welcomed Biden into the race, saying "the more, the merrier!" -- exclamation point included. However, "with a primary field so crowded," Harris said that she needed more donors to distinguish her campaign. In the first quarter of this year, Harris was the second highest fundraiser among Democrats, with $12 million.

Bernie Sanders, who raised $18 million in the first quarter, also obliquely referenced Biden's entry into the race in a fundraising email to supporters.

"Today, there is one more candidate in the race. That makes today a big day for our campaign - and an important moment to show that we are the ones who can beat Trump and transform this country," the email said.

Elizabeth Warren's campaign didn't mention Biden directly in her email appeal for more donations, but emphasized that her campaign was focusing on small donors.

"You won't see Elizabeth resort to hopping around big cities to host swanky fundraisers with wealthy donors," the campaign email said.

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