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Democratic donors are breaking small-dollar records

2020 Dems reveal 3rd quarter fundraising totals

The online fundraising platform ActBlue announced Thursday that it raised more than $297 million from small-dollar donors for Democratic candidates and causes in the third quarter of 2019, bringing the group's total fundraising for the year to more than $700 million.

Despite the third quarter being known as a challenging time to raise campaign funds, ActBlue said it saw more contributions during that time than any other quarter in ActBlue history—more than 10 million total. Of those contributions, 1 million came from new donors, and the average donation was $28. September 30 was its biggest day for contributions ever. 

According to the platform, as many donors have already given in 2019 as did in the entire 2018 election cycle, and small-dollar donors are on track to give $1 billion in 2019 alone and $3 billion by the end of the 2020 election cycle.

But record small-dollar fundraising can't all be attributed to the race for the White House. ActBlue, which is used by more than 11,000 campaigns and organizations, said donors also gave twice as many contributions to Senate, House and state legislative candidates when compared to the third quarter of 2017.

"They aren't just giving to presidential candidates: They're donating to state legislative candidates running to flip state houses, freshmen Democrats facing tough reelection campaigns and trailblazing Senate candidates fighting to flip the upper chamber," said ActBlue Executive Director Erin Hill in a statement. 

Breaking records

This news comes after several Democratic presidential candidates reported large cash hauls through grassroots efforts in the third quarter. 

Senator Bernie Sanders' campaign raised more than $25.3 million from July 1 through September 30—the most of any Democratic candidate in any quarter this election cycle. His campaign said September set a new record for the amount it raised and number of contributions it received in a single month. Senator Elizabeth Warren similarly raised $24.6 million this quarter. 

At the same time, several Democratic Senate candidates, including Amy McGrath in Kentucky, Jaime Harrison in South Carolina and Mark Kelly in Arizona, all raised well into the millions in their respective races, breaking several records. (It's not yet clear how much of their funding was raised online.)

According to ActBlue, 58% of the third-quarter donations were made through a mobile device—the highest percentage of donations made that way in a single quarter. The organization says its biggest-ever hour for mobile donating came during the September presidential debate. 

Republican fundraising

While ActBlue may be breaking records, Democratic presidential candidates still lag behind President Trump's fundraising. His campaign and the Republican National Committee raised $125.7 million in the third quarter of 2019. They use the Republican equivalent to ActBlue, WinRed, which launched earlier this year.

WinRed says it raised in three months what ActBlue raised in its first three and a half years. On October 1, WinRed announced that it raked in $30 million in the third quarter from more than 639,000 donors, with an average donation of $46.

Since June, more than 600 campaigns have requested WinRed accounts, and it has been adopted by 92% of Republican state parties, 76% of Republican senators and 60% of Republican House members.

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