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Cory Booker raises millions after threatening to drop out

2020 Dems reveal 3rd quarter fundraising totals

Cory Booker's campaign announced Tuesday that it raised $6 million in the third quarter of 2019, making this the best fundraising period yet for the New Jersey senator. The haul comes after his campaign implied last month that a fundraising shortfall would force Booker from the race. 

On September 21, Booker's campaign announced it needed to raise $1.7 million in the last ten days of the filing period in order to stay competitive and expand operations. At the time, Booker's campaign manager, Addisu Demissie, told reporters that Booker would have no choice but to exit the race should they not reach their fundraising needs. 

In the end, they surpassed that goal, raking in more than $2.1 million in over that ten day period from more than 46,000 donations. September ended up being Booker's best fundraising month overall, with his campaign taking in $3.1 million. 

Booker's $6 million third quarter cash haul is a 30% increase over his second quarter numbers, during which time he raised more than $4.5 million and ended the period with more than $5 million cash on hand. Booker's campaign did not say how much cash on hand they had at the end of the third quarter. However, Demissie did give a preview of upcoming plans for the campaign. 

According to him, the campaign plans to hire 40 new staff across their operation in the next six weeks. It also plans to open new field offices in early states. An exact breakdown of locations and numbers have yet to be released.The campaign says it is also launching an effort to help ensure Booker gets on the ballot in all 57 nominating contests and plans to make a six-figure investment in its email list to help expand its supporter base.

Bernie Sanders raises $25 million; press secretary discusses campaign strategy

In another unusual move, the campaign also released some of its projected budget figures. According to the campaign, it expects to spend more than $7.2 million including more than $4 million in payroll and benefits costs for the team in the fourth quarter. They also project they'll spend some $3.1 million over the next three months on everything from office space to digital advertising to travel costs. 

In advance of their expected expenses, Booker's campaign is already launching a new public fundraising goal to raise $3 million over the month of October. In a call with reporters, Desmissie said he hopes to cover the projected expenses of nearly $2.5 million in October plus raise an additional $500,000 for future investments including in their get-out-the-vote program and paid advertising. 

However, unlike raising the alarms in the last 10 days of the third quarter, Desmissie said Booker would not drop out of the race if the goal was not met. 

Booker is the third candidate to release his fundraising totals from the third quarter. He raised less than a quarter of what Senator Bernie Sanders did with his $25 million haul. Booker's total also puts him far behind South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who raised $19.1 million. 

Toward the end of the third quarter, several candidates appeared to be poking fun at the Booker campaign's do-or-die fundraising approach. Beto O'Rourke suggested he could live stream himself threatening a kitten named Miss Whiskers to get donations. A Buttigieg campaign fundraising email made it a point to say he would not be dropping out of the presidential race should they not meet their end of quarter goal. 

While it's unclear whether other candidates' final fundraising pitches helped them in the way it appears Booker's did, all candidates will have to file their numbers with the Federal Election Commission. The deadline to do so is October 15.

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