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Biden Campaign Reports Record Fundraising, Outpacing Trump Again


We are four months out from Election Day, and money is flooding in. Both campaigns announced big fundraising totals last night. Usually, an incumbent president raises more than a challenger. But that didn't happen this time. Joe Biden, with $141 million, raised a bit more than President Trump. NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith has been looking into the numbers. Good morning, Tam.


KING: Let's start with Joe Biden and his $141 million. How'd he pull in that money?

KEITH: Well, according to Biden's campaign, 68% of June's donors were brand-new to the campaign. Overall, they say the average donation was $34. Now, campaigns love to emphasize that small amount. But Biden also got the big checks, too. Biden held some high-dollar fundraisers, all of them virtual. There was one with former President Obama that raised $11 million. He also held fundraisers with Elizabeth Warren - Senators Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, each of those raising several million.

Now, this is the second month in a row that Biden has outraised Trump. He outraised him for the quarter, too. And, you know, the remarkable thing is this was solidly in the middle of the pandemic, this whole quarter, with millions of Americans out of work. And in part, what this does is this shows that there is momentum, that, you know, there have been a lot of polls that have come out, state polls, national polls, essentially every poll in recent weeks has shown Biden with a solid lead. Well, it's not just the polls. Now you see that he has an advantage in fundraising, which is incredibly rare for an incumbent.

KING: So we have this really interesting historical precedent, where usually the incumbent does better with fundraising than the challenger. President Trump raised a lot. He raised $131 million in June, still less than Joe Biden. What do you make of that?

KEITH: Yeah, so this was something remarkable. The Trump campaign has had a fundraising machine. And the reality is $131 million is nothing to sneeze at. The Trump campaign said that this is a massive haul - they kept using the word haul - and said that it was fueled by digital mail and online donors. They say that this shows that there's real enthusiasm for President Trump. And they were really crowing about it for a couple of hours until the Biden campaign came out with their fundraising totals that were even higher. You know, the Trump campaign raised $14 million just on President Trump's birthday. It was a big push that they had in the quarter.

And so right after the Tulsa rally that was under attended and sort of a disappointment, I was talking to a top fundraiser for Trump. And I said, well, you know, are you worried about that? And he said no, no, no, don't look at that for enthusiasm. Look at our fundraising. And then I said, well, what about Biden? Biden's campaign seems to be catching up there and doing well. He said no, the thing - I would rather be in our position because look at our cash on hand.

And the reality is that the Trump campaign started fundraising, declared, started running for reelection basically as soon as he was sworn in. The Trump campaign says that they have $300 million in the bank. We don't have that total yet for Biden's campaign. Biden has been spending a lot to ramp up their staffing in the last quarter.

KING: How are the campaigns using all of this money at this point?

KEITH: Personnel, ads. One thing that's very interesting, the Trump campaign spent something like $2 million in the last week on Facebook ads. Meanwhile, Biden's campaign spent about half that much. And they're also - Trump's campaign is booking ads for the fall at this point and booking ads in states that he won somewhat handily last time, including Ohio. It's a defensive crouch.

KING: And six months in, of course, it'll be interesting to see how these campaigns change their messaging because the country is in such a different place than it was at the start of the year. NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith. Tam, thank you.

KEITH: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Tamara Keith has been a White House correspondent for NPR since 2014 and co-hosts the NPR Politics Podcast, the top political news podcast in America. Keith has chronicled the Trump administration from day one, putting this unorthodox presidency in context for NPR listeners, from early morning tweets to executive orders and investigations. She covered the final two years of the Obama presidency, and during the 2016 presidential campaign she was assigned to cover Hillary Clinton. In 2018, Keith was elected to serve on the board of the White House Correspondents' Association.
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