Joe Biden is raising the most cash from SC donors in Democratic presidential primary race
COLUMBIA — Former Vice President Joe Biden edged U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris out of first among S.C. donors this week, taking the lead in raising the most money from South Carolinians in an early state critical to winning the 2020 nomination in the Democratic presidential primary.
The former Delaware senator raised more than $126,000 — nearly $100,000 more than the California Democrat — despite entering the 2020 race late, according to a McClatchy DC analysis of candidates’ federal filing reports for the second quarter of 2019.
The reports were due by the campaigns late Monday.
Coming in second among S.C. donors is Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who raised more than $110,000. That is out of a total $24.8 million raised in the second quarter, the largest amount raised by a 2020 hopeful. That beat Biden’s $21.5 million.
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Harris each raised right under $30,000 from S.C. donors in the second quarter — raking in less than $20 million each in the second quarter. Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts raised more than $15,000, and former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas brought in less than $14,600 from South Carolina donors.
Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota each raised less than $7,000 from South Carolina donors. Each brought in less than $4 million total in the second quarter.
This quarter, O’Rourke raised $3.6 million total, a stark change from the $9.3 million he raised in the first three months of the race.
The in-state totals could be higher. Campaigns do not have to disclose donors who spend less than $200.
Money doesn’t always suggest how a candidate is faring in a state — though it helps — said one Democratic strategist.
“Money doesn’t always translate to votes,” said Antjuan Seawright, a Democratic strategist based in South Carolina. “Part of the reason why people are interested in South Carolina, we have a high percentage of working poor people, who have to decide am I going to pay for (electricity) or childcare or give it to a political candidate? Monday doesn’t always translate to support gained.”
Since entering the crowded 2020 race, Biden has been considered a front runner and his poll numbers, though slipping in some cases, have remained stable despite criticism from his opponents over his penchant for gaffes and past record on race-related issues.
Among his most public critics has been Harris, who, poll after poll, has nudged closer to Biden, though not enough to place first.
And The State’s recent analysis of South Carolina’s black voters — who make up more than 60 percent of the state’s Democratic Party voting bloc and are critical to winning the state’s primary — have still maintained tight support to Biden.
“There’s financial equity investments and there’s sweat equity investments,” Seawright said. “Particularly Democratic primary voters, if they believe in you, they will donate much of their sweat equity to an effort they believe in.”
The eventual nominee will face President Donald Trump, who this quarter raised more than $386,000 from South Carolina donors.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.