Booker says he’s raised more than $5 million in first quarter

Three things to look for in 2020 presidential fundraising
Copyright 2019 CNN

Cory Booker raised more than $5 million during the first quarter of his presidential campaign, the New Jersey senator announced in an email to supporters Sunday.

The number puts Booker well behind the leaders of the 2020 pack — including Sen. Bernie Sanders, who raked in $18.2 million during the first 41 days of his campaign; and Sen. Kamala Harris, who brought in $12 million over a longer period — as well as some lesser-known rivals, like Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke who announced he raised $9.4 million in the first 18 days of his campaign and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who announced raising roughly $7 million in his campaign’s exploratory phase.

“I feel incredible,” Booker said Sunday of his fundraising numbers during a stop in New Hampshire. “We set goals for ourselves and we surpassed our own goals, we’re seeing incredible energy and enthusiasm everywhere we go in this campaign.”

Booker also touted a total of $6.1 million cash on hand, a sum some of his rivals, like Buttigieg and Harris, did not disclose. The figure suggests a relatively low burn rate for Booker; it also indicates that he transferred some money from his Senate account. But Booker’s email reported that there remains more money left in that bucket available to be tapped at a later date.

The numbers overall suggest that, while Booker’s campaign should have no problem keeping the lights on, he is not among the fundraising powerhouses in this race, particularly in grassroots fundraising — a useful marker of enthusiasm at this stage.

Although Booker’s campaign touted an average online donation of $34, it did not announce an average overall donation; and even as the campaign said that 82% of donors gave for the first time, it did not confirm the total number of donors to his campaign, as other campaigns have.

During a swing through New Hampshire on Saturday, prior to his campaign’s fundraising announcement, Booker downplayed the importance of his first quarter numbers.

“I think this election is not going to be decided by money,” Booker said. “We’re going to raise the money that we need to run our plan.”