Biden fundraising surged in May

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Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. | Matt Slocum/AP Photo

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign announced it raised $81 million last month, fueled by his rise in the polls against President Trump and growth in his online fundraising operation .

The $80.8 million haul by Biden and two committees associated with the Democratic Party came as Biden’s campaign tripled the number of online donors since February and counted 1.5 million new supporters “in the last few weeks,” according to an email sent Tuesday to supporters.

The new fundraising numbers partly reflect the full fundraising weight of the Biden Victory Fund, a joint enterprise with the Democratic National Committee established in May. Before the fund was established, Biden and the DNC raised $60.5 million in April, 30 percent less than the sum the campaign announced Monday.

But it’s not just big donors fueling the campaign, which said in its email that half of its May donors were new and that educators remain the largest occupational group in its donor base.

Trump, however, maintains a significant cash advantage over Biden, who only recently began venturing beyond his Wilmington, Delaware, home as the nation slowly opens up amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With the candidate still largely sheltered in place, Biden’s campaign has a low burn rate on its spending because it’s not flying across the country or holding large rallies. In addition, Biden isn’t advertising on TV right now, saving millions more.

Once cash-strapped, Biden’s fundraising took off after Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign and helped the de facto nominee raise money along with other former rivals and former President Obama. The party’s 2016 nominee, Hillary Clinton, pulled in a whopping $2 million for the campaign May 19 during a virtual fundraiser that didn’t even feature Biden.

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Three days after that, former rival Pete Buttigieg headlined a fundraiser with Biden and specifically asked the candidate about running a virtual campaign.

“I think we can win online by connecting people, not tearing them apart, by showing compassion, not cruelty, by building a strategy that respects the campaign we’re running,” Biden responded, according to a pool report.

“This is a battle for the soul of the internet as well,” Biden said, pivoting off his campaign’s theme that the election is a fight for “the soul of the nation.”

Also fueling Biden’s fundraising: Trump.

According to one fundraiser who organized an event for Biden, the deep antipathy for the president among Democrats — which has grown more pronounced with the back-to-back blows of the coronavirus pandemic and the protests that followed the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd on May 25 — have led more people to donate.

“Nothing raises money like hatred of Trump,” said the fundraiser, bound by a party confidentiality agreement.

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