Trump campaign raises $30 mn in Jan-March
Washington DC: President Donald Trump's reelection campaign is set to report that it raised more than USD 30 million in the first quarter of 2019, edging out his top two Democratic rivals combined, according to figures it provided to The Associated Press.
The haul brings the campaign's cash on hand to USD 40.8 million, an unprecedented war chest for an incumbent president this early in a campaign.
The Trump campaign said nearly 99 per cent of its donations were of USD 200 or less, with an average donation of USD 34.26.
Trump's fundraising ability was matched by the Republican National Committee, which brought in USD 45.8 million in the first quarter its best non-election year total.
Combined, the pro-Trump effort is reporting USD 82 million in the bank, with USD 40.8 million belonging to the campaign alone.
Trump formally launched his reelection effort just hours after taking office in 2017, earlier than any incumbent has in prior years.
By contrast, former President Barack Obama launched his 2012 effort in April 2011 and had under USD 2 million on hand at this point in the campaign.
Obama went on to raise more than USD 720 million for his reelection. Trump's reelection effort has set a USD 1 billion target for 2020.
Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement that Trump "is in a vastly stronger position at this point than any previous incumbent president running for re-election, and only continues to build momentum."
Trump's fundraising with the RNC is divided between two entities: Trump Victory, the joint account used for high-dollar gifts, and the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, the low-dollar digital fundraising operation known internally as "T-Magic."
The campaign is set to launch a traditional "bundling" programme which it lacked in 2016 in the coming weeks. Bundlers are mid-tier donors who bring in contributions from their associates.
Together, the Trump entities have raised a combined USD 165.5 million since 2017.
Trump is benefiting from the advantages of incumbency, like universal name recognition and his unrivaled position atop the Republican Party.
Among Democrats, dollars are divided across a candidate field of well more than a dozen, while the Democratic National Committee remains in debt and has suffered from being dramatically outraised by the RNC in recent months.
Bernie Sanders topped the Democratic field in the first quarter, raising slightly more than USD 18 million, followed by Kamala Harris with USD 12 million and Beto O'Rourke with USD 9.4 million. Trump is reporting a haul of USD 30.3 million.
Republicans have trailed Democrats in online fundraising ever since the medium was invented roughly two decades ago. But Trump has closed the gap, driving small-dollar donors who make recurring donations to the GOP like the party has never seen before.
According to RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, Trump's campaign has already had eight seven-figure fundraising days this year, and has taken in money from more than 1 million new online donors since Trump's inauguration including 1,00,000 this year.
The Republican committee said it is planning on spending USD 30 million on maintaining and growing Trump's email list alone, recently expanded its headquarters space to an annex in Virginia and will soon invest in developing an app.
In 2015, Trump swore off outside money, declaring in his opening speech: "I'm using my own money. I'm not using the lobbyists'. I'm not using donors'. I don't care. I'm really