Although trailing the top Democrats, impeachment hearings may help boost exposure…
(Liberty Headlines) The field of Democrats seeking to secure the presidential nomination to take on President Donald Trump grew thinner as low-polling Julian Castro dropped out this week.
But another trailing candidate, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said Friday that a boost in donations during 2019’s final fundraising quarter was helping keep her in the ring—for now.
That may be bad news for former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a top-four candidate who, like Klobuchar, is vying for a pathway down the middle that speaks to disaffected conservatives and moderates in America’s heartland.
The two have sparred during the debates, with Klobuchar saying that the inexperienced Buttigieg’s success is attributable to “male privilege.”
Klobuchar raised $11.4 million for her presidential bid in the final three months of last year, the best fundraising quarter of the Minnesota senator’s 2020 campaign but significantly less than all of her top rivals.
Klobuchar said 145,126 people donated between September and December, with an average contribution of $32.
Campaign manager Justin Buoen said a “massive surge in grassroots support,” thanks to strong performances in fall debates, helped the campaign double its staff in Iowa and New Hampshire, where voters cast the first votes for the Democratic nomination, and invest in the next two states—Nevada and South Carolina.
The campaign also is spending money in states that will vote in the March 3 Super Tuesday contests.
Klobuchar, who launched her campaign in February, raised $5.2 million in the first quarter, nearly $4 million in the second quarter and $4.8 million in the third quarter.
But with just a month until the first primary votes are cast in Iowa on Feb. 3, Klobuchar trails—in polling and fundraising—the four top candidates.
Sanders reported Thursday that he raised more than $34.5 million between September and December, while Buttigieg said his campaign received $24.7 million.
Biden brought in $22.7 million, while entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who has not met the polling requirement to qualify for the Jan. 14 debate, said he received $16.5 million.
Warren’s campaign has not released its numbers but said in a recent fundraising email that it had collected about $17 million with days to go in the quarter.
The large numbers are a sign that the fight for the Democratic nomination could continue for several months, making it difficult for candidates who don’t have strong campaign funding to stay in the race to take on President Donald Trump in the general election.
Officially, 13 Democratic candidates have dropped out, but with the late additions of billionaires Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, along with former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, the field seems to be growing as much as it is receding. Currently, 14 Democrats remain in contention.
The infighting between the Democrats competing for votes, airtime and resources has played to Trump’s benefit, but so have their attacks against him.
In particular, House Democrats’ recent passage of impeachment articles against Trump helped him rally support for his re-election campaign.
Trump’s campaign said Thursday that it had raised $46 million during the last quarter and had more than $102 million cash on hand.
The size of the Democratic candidates’ campaign bank accounts won’t be clear until the Jan. 15 federal reporting deadline.
It remains to be seen—if and when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi decides to file the House-passed impeachment articles to the Senate—whether the resulting trial might help or hurt the Democratic candidates.
As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Klobuchar would be front and center in the televised proceedings, along with Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey—assuming he remains in the primary race.
However, the two, along with Warren, Sanders and Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, might also be at a disadvantage if called away from the campaign trail at a crucial moment. The possibility remains open, also, that Biden may be called to testify.
That would offer a strategic advantage to Buttigieg and Bloomberg in particular, given their ample war-chests and media exposure, unless there were some sort of prior arrangement from the candidates to suspend their campaigns.
Pelosi has sought to gain leverage by withholding the articles, likely in the hopes that a clear front-runner emerges quickly so she can maximize their political benefit to the Democratic nominee.
But as with much of her impeachment strategy, the zero-sum gambit could backfire if a drawn-out nominating contest forces the trial into peak primary season, in or around the Super Tuesday primaries in early March.
Forestalling impeachment any further risks the American public losing interest in the already tired scandal and further exposing the Democrats’ machinations as partisan and disingenuous.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press