Biden campaign's spending explodes in third quarter
President Biden's re-election campaign has dramatically increased its spending, with $57 million going out the door during the past three months, the campaign disclosed Sunday.
Why it matters: The spending is a significant shift for Biden's team after spending just $1.1 million in the previous quarter — and reflects the campaign's push to build an infrastructure as GOP contenders continue to fight it out in their primary season.
- Biden's campaign team is ramping up with several dozen new staffers in its new headquarters in Wilmington, Del., and millions of dollars in TV and social media ads.
Driving the news: The campaign said it raised more than $71 million in the third quarter, a little less than the $72 million Biden raised during the second quarter with the Democratic National Committee and joint fundraising committees.
- The Biden team added $14 million to its cash-on-hand during the third quarter and now has a total of $91 million.
Biden's third-quarter fundraising haul is far behind that of former President Trump and the Republican National Committee at this point during Trump's re-election campaign in 2019. They raised $125 million during that period and had $156 million cash on hand through Trump's various fundraising committees.
- The Trump campaign spent about $69 million in the third quarter of 2019.
- "We don't take our cues from the 'death star,' " a Biden campaign spokesperson quipped to Axios, referring to what the Trump campaign called itself in 2020, only to lose the election.
- Former President Obama — the last Democrat to run for re-election — and the DNC raised about $70 million during the same period in 2011.
Biden's team highlighted that it has more cash on hand than any of their 2024 Republican rivals.
- That's because individual donors can give a maximum of $6,600 to those GOP campaigns between the primary and general election, while they can donate up to $929,600 to Biden's joint fundraising committee, per an agreement between the campaign, the DNC and state Democratic parties.
- Once there is a GOP nominee, that candidate will be able to raise funds with the RNC.
- Trump's campaign said this month that it had more than $37.5 million cash on hand entering October — including $36 million for use in the primary — and raised more than $45.5 million during the third quarter.
By the numbers: Biden's team told Axios it has spent about $10 million of a previously announced $25 million TV ad buy.
- It also has spent nearly $5 million on Facebook and Google ads in the past three months, according to Bully Pulpit.
Zoom in: The campaign did not disclose how much money it raised from small-dollar donors, a metric of grassroots enthusiasm.
- Asked by Axios for the amount, the campaign declined to say — adding only that during the third quarter it doubled the number of donors who have committed to giving every month.
Between the lines: The Biden campaign has struggled to generate grassroots interest and small-dollar donations, which are those under $200.
- Biden's campaign and its joint fundraising committee brought in $10.2 million from small donors last quarter, about half of Obama's $21.2 million haul during the same period in 2011.
- Biden also struggled to raise money from small-dollar donors during the 2020 primary, but saw such donations explode in the general election match-up against Trump.
Biden's campaign has tried to ramp up its small-dollar operation by deploying Obama and the online meme "Dark Brandon."
- A fundraising contest to meet Biden and Obama and get a picture taken with both brought in nearly $2.5 million, the campaign said.
- The campaign also found fundraising success with "Dark Brandon" — an online meme portraying Biden as a conniving, behind-the-scenes mastermind.
- "Dark Brandon" mugs and the web videos the president filmed with them "drove close to $2M in revenue since August, and led to an 850% increase in sales month-over-month from July to August," the campaign said in a statement.
Go deeper: Kamala Harris' big-donor mission