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President Biden posts 'blockbuster' three-month fundraising total: $72 million

President Biden addresses union workers on June 17 in Philadelphia. His campaign announced fundraising numbers for April through June on Friday.
Mark Makela
Getty Images
President Biden addresses union workers on June 17 in Philadelphia. His campaign announced fundraising numbers for April through June on Friday.

Updated July 14, 2023 at 12:36 PM ET

President Biden is starting his reelection campaign with tens of millions of dollars in the bank, dwarfing second-quarter fundraising totals already announced by the campaigns of former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

According to an announcement from the campaign ahead of a Federal Elections Commission reporting deadline this weekend, the Biden-Harris campaign, Democratic National Committee and their joint fundraising committees combined to raise $72 million from April to the end of June. They have $77 million cash on hand.

Because Biden is the incumbent president and his campaign is fully integrated with the DNC, the combined fundraising total represents all the funds the reelect could draw upon.

Despite higher donation limits this election cycle, these totals are actually lower than the numbers posted by former Presidents Barack Obama and Trump at a similar point in their campaigns. Trump and the Republican National Committee raised $105 million in the second quarter of 2019, while Obama and the DNC raised $86 million.

A Biden campaign official pointed out Obama got into the race in early April in 2011, while Biden waited until late April, so on a per-day-of-campaign basis Biden raised slightly more. The official also argued that Biden isn't running against the Obama of 2011 or the Trump of 2019.

For Republican candidates in this cycle, there is a competitive primary, so Republican National Committee fundraising totals don't help them yet.

Earlier this month, the Trump campaign announced the former president and his affiliated political action committee had raised more than $35 million in the second quarter.

DeSantis' campaign said he had brought in $20 million since launching his candidacy in late June. DeSantis' super PAC, Never Back Down, says it has raised $130 million since early March. While super PACs work in support of the candidate, they can't coordinate with them.

In an online message shared with small-dollar donors via email and text, Biden-Harris campaign manager Julie Chávez Rodríguez touted Biden's advantage over the GOP field.

"While Republicans are burning through resources in a divisive primary focused on who can take the most extreme MAGA positions, we are significantly outraising every single one of them — because our team's strength is our grassroots supporters," Chávez Rodríguez said.

More details will be available this weekend when campaigns file detailed reports with the FEC. What they release in advance of that reporting deadline tends to accentuate the data points that the campaign wants people to focus on.

In the case of the Biden campaign, they point to donations coming from nearly 400,000 donors, with an average donation of $39. A lower average donation shows grassroots enthusiasm and not just the support of deep-pocketed mega-donors. At this point in 2011, the Obama reelect had donations from more than 550,000 individuals.

The Biden campaign says 30% of its donations this past quarter came from new donors, who didn't give Biden money in 2020.

"There's only one word: blockbuster," said Jeffrey Katzenberg, a Biden campaign co-chair, who knows a thing or two about blockbusters. He co-founded the movie studio DreamWorks and now leads WndrCo.

Katzenberg hasn't hosted a fundraiser for Biden yet this election cycle, though he has attended several high-dollar fundraisers with the president in his role as campaign co-chair.

As the quarter was nearing its end, some donors expressed concern to journalists that Biden's fundraising numbers would be weak and that his events weren't well attended. In the end, though, Katzenberg told NPR that Biden raised more than $10 million in two days of attending fundraisers in San Francisco in June.

"These numbers are just, you know, they're undeniable," said Katzenberg. "No one has ever raised more money faster, more diversely than President Biden. So to the doubters and the naysayers, numbers speak, numbers talk."

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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.