Elizabeth Warren Nets $24.6 Million in Third-Quarter Fund-Raising, Narrowly Trailing Bernie Sanders

Elizabeth Warren Nets $24.6 Million in Third-Quarter Fund-Raising, Narrowly Trailing Bernie Sanders

SAN DIEGO — Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts raised $24.6 million in the past three months, her presidential campaign announced on Friday, trailing only Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont for the largest fund-raising haul in the most recent quarter.

Ms. Warren’s total offers further evidence of her steady rise to the top of the pack in the Democratic primary race, where she now rivals former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. as a leading contender for the party’s nomination.

Her fund-raising in the past three months far exceeded that of Mr. Biden, who raised $15.2 million, his campaign said on Thursday — an indicator of the gulf between the two candidates in attracting grass-roots support.

Ms. Warren’s haul is also the latest sign of the importance of online donors in the Democratic primary. Both Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders have sworn off private fund-raisers with wealthy donors, yet they announced larger totals for the quarter than rivals who are relying on the traditional fund-raising circuit in addition to online giving. Mr. Sanders raised $25.3 million in the quarter, his campaign said this week.

Ms. Warren received 943,000 donations in the quarter from 509,000 donors, and more than 300,000 of those donors gave to her presidential campaign for the first time, her team said. The average donation was $26, and Ms. Warren ended the quarter with $25.7 million in cash on hand, according to her campaign.

Roger Lau, Ms. Warren’s campaign manager, announced her fund-raising haul in an email to supporters on Friday morning.

“This means our grass-roots movement is in an incredible position — to double down on our investments in grass-roots organizing, to keep getting Elizabeth’s plans for big, structural change in front of more caucusgoers and voters, and to bring more people into this fight,” he wrote. “Please take a moment to be proud of the movement you’re helping build.”

While Ms. Warren fell short of Mr. Sanders’s total, she outpaced Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., who had been the top second quarter fund-raiser, with $24.8 million. His campaign announced this week that it had raised more than $19.1 million in the third quarter.

In the past three months, Mr. Buttigieg and Mr. Biden saw their fund-raising dip from the previous quarter, but Ms. Warren’s continued to grow. Her $24.6 million total surpassed the $19.2 million she raised in the second quarter, which dwarfed the $6 million she collected in the first three months of the year.

Presidential candidates must report their fund-raising for the third quarter, which covered July through September, to the Federal Election Commission by Oct. 15.

Beating Mr. Sanders’s total for the past three months would have given another jolt of momentum to Ms. Warren’s campaign. Instead, Mr. Sanders’s status as the top fund-raiser for the quarter provides a reminder of his sizable following, even as other indicators like polling are less favorable.

In the long run, Mr. Sanders’s slight financial edge over Ms. Warren in the quarter is unlikely to make a major difference in the perceptions of their candidacies. Mr. Sanders entered the race having already established an enormous network of donors during his 2016 presidential campaign, and he raised slightly less in the third quarter of 2019 than he did during the same time period in 2015.

Ms. Warren’s fund-raising in the quarter was a fraction of what President Trump and the Republican National Committee brought in, though those numbers are not directly comparable. Mr. Trump’s re-election campaign and the R.N.C. raised a combined $125 million in the past three months, officials said this week.

Ms. Warren struggled with fund-raising at the beginning of her presidential campaign, but those struggles ended up being short-lived. Her third-quarter haul is another validation of her strategy to rely on online donors to finance her campaign.

That choice is central to her bid for the presidency, freeing up her schedule and creating a tidy contrast with some of her rivals: While other candidates gather with rich donors, Ms. Warren spends hours taking pictures with voters who wait in the “selfie line” at her town hall events.

“I made the decision early on I was not going to spend my time behind closed doors with corporate executives and bazillionaires,” Ms. Warren told the crowd at a town hall in Carson City, Nev., on Wednesday night. “I was going to spend my time here.”

At a town hall in San Diego on Thursday night, she reached her latest selfie-related milestone: She has now taken pictures with 70,000 people since beginning her campaign. She made it to the end of the selfie line just before midnight.

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