Lower-tier 2020 candidates have highest share of small-dollar donations
Various lower-tier candidates are leading the 2020 race in one way: they've raised most of their money from small-dollar donors.
Why it matters: Fundraising as a whole can be a proxy for voter enthusiasm. But especially small donations, which Democrats have been fighting to get from regular people who want to give their money to campaigns — and mostly online.
- Some Democratic campaigns privately say that their small-dollar donations suggest they've attracted lower-income and minority voters. Others say it shows their strength with the grassroots wing of the party.
Between the lines: It makes sense that Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have raised more than 65% of their money from small contributions — they've both sworn off high-dollar fundraisers.
- Andrew Yang's popularity online could explain how he's raised a majority of his money from nominal donations.
- Julián Castro's campaign often emails supporters asking for just $15, and has even sent some "humbly asking you to pitch in $1 or more."
The big picture: ActBlue, the Democratic online fundraising platform, says it has raised $420 million so far in 2019.
- Grassroots donors gave $246 million in Q2 alone
- 3.3 million unique donors have contributed to nearly 9,000 Democratic campaigns and organizations this cycle overall
- Compared to the same point in the 2018 cycle: donors had given $249 million, and 4.9 million people made contributions through ActBlue throughout the entire 2018 cycle.
The bottom line: Keep an eye on these small-dollar Democratic donations, especially online — that's what helped them break fundraising records in the 2018 midterms.
Go deeper: Axios' 2020 fundraising tracker for every candidate for federal office