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Expand chart
Data: 2019 FEC filings. Donations do not include funds from political committees or the candidates themselves. Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

In a primary race stacked with billionaires, the candidates raising the most money don't necessarily have all the same advantages.

Between the lines: Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer are easily able to outspend and outlast any other 2020 campaign. But while fundraising numbers show how powerful and long-lasting a campaign could be in a long election cycle, they are also a sign of support and excitement around a candidate — something money can't always buy.

By the numbers: In 2019, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Mayor Pete Buttigieg raised the most money from individual donations, which doesn't include money from political committees or the candidates themselves, according to new FEC data filed Friday night.

  • Sanders raised $60.6 million from individuals who gave less than $200 each to the campaign — more than any other candidate. He's long championed this kind of grassroots, small-dollar fundraising. It gives a picture of his strong support among average American voters, as opposed to wealthy donors who can afford to give thousands of dollars to politics.
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang join Sanders as the three candidates who received more than half of their campaign money in 2019 from small-dollar (less than $200) donations.
  • In contrast, Buttigieg raised more money from large donations ($200+) than any other candidate. He's come under fire, particularly from Warren, for a lack of transparency around his large-dollar fundraising. He promised in December to start letting reporters attend fundraising events.

The other side: The billionaires are playing a whole different game. 99.9% of all the money brought into Bloomberg's campaign came from Bloomberg himself, with the remaining 0.1% coming from a category titled "Other Receipts (Dividends, Interest, etc)." In just over one month, he spent more than two times as much as Sanders in all of 2019. He also spent more than the Trump campaign did all last year..

  • Steyer, who jumped into the race before Bloomberg, gave $202.5 million to his own campaign in 2019, out of a total of $206.3 million brought in.
  • The other $4 million came after he decided to pursue enough donors to qualify for earlier debates.
Expand chart
Data: 2019 FEC filings; Chart: Axios Visuals

What to watch: Biden has raised and spent less money than other frontrunners, and he is starting off 2020 with the least amount of money on hand out of the top 5 candidates. But he has remained the candidate to beat in national polls since even before he announced his candidacy.

  • While money can't buy you the White House, Bloomberg has surpassed Buttigieg in national polls just two months after officially announcing his presidential bid — squeaking into the top four, according to Real Clear Politics.
  • Businessman Yang managed to out-raise and out-spend Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who snatched one of the New York Times' endorsements. But Yang's standing in the polls has changed little — he failed to qualify for the last Democratic debate and is starting the year off with less money than any other candidate Axios analyzed.

Go deeper: 2020 presidential election: Track the candidates

Go deeper

Perfect storm brewing for extreme politicians

Data: Axios research; Table: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Redistricting and a flood of departing incumbents are paving the way for more extreme candidates in this year's midterm elections.

Driving the news: At least 19 House districts in 12 states are primed to attract such candidates — hard partisans running in strongly partisan districts — according to an Axios analysis of districts as measured by the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index (PVI).

Updated 3 hours ago - Technology

3D printing's next act: big metal objects

Chief Scientist Andy Bayramian makes modifications to the laser system on Seurat's 3D metal printer. Photo courtesy of Seurat Technologies.

A new metal 3D printing technology could revolutionize the way large industrial products like planes and cars are made, reducing the cost and carbon footprint of mass manufacturing.

Why it matters: 3D printing — also called additive manufacturing — has been used since the 1980s to make small plastic parts and prototypes. Metal printing is newer, and the challenge has been figuring out how to make things like large car parts faster and cheaper than traditional methods.

Updated 5 hours ago - Technology

Mayors see cryptocurrency as a way to address income inequality

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

At the U.S. Conference of Mayors' meeting in D.C. this week, there's buzz around the idea of giving cryptocurrency accounts to low-income people.

Why it matters: Cities have been experimenting with newfangled ways to address income inequality — like guaranteed income programs — and the latest wave of trials could involve paying benefits or dividends in bitcoin, stablecoin or other digital currencies.