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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.

Expand chart
Data: FEC; Note: Includes candidates whose authorized committees raised at least $2 million in individual donations in Q2 2019; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios
  • 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

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

5 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.