President Donald Trump raised more than $30 million for his re-election effort, according to figures released by his campaign, and has $40.8 million in the bank, more than any of the active Democratic candidates have reported so far.
The Republican National Committee, which will be supporting Trump’s bid, raised an additional $45.8 million in the first quarter, the most it’s raised in a non-election year. Combined, the party and Trump’s committees have $82 million in the bank, an unprecedented war chest this early in a presidential election contest.
The $75.8 million Trump’s committees and the RNC raised in the first quarter tops the $67.5 million that eight Democratic candidates have voluntarily reported, though the Democratic National Committee and several candidates who raised money in the first quarter have yet to release totals. Candidates must report first-quarter fundraising and spending to the Federal Election Commission by the end of Monday, but individual campaigns often announce collections shortly ahead of the deadline to try to showcase their support. Party committees aren’t due to report to the FEC until Saturday.
Trump’s base has continued to support his campaign. Almost 99 percent of its donations were in amounts of $200 or less, with an average donation of around $34, according to the campaign, which first released the information to the Associated Press.
A recent pitch to Trump donors asked $28 for an “I Spy” t-shirt, playing off Attorney General William Barr’s comments before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that he believed the campaign was spied upon. Barr was referring to investigations of Trump’s campaign undertaken by the Federal Bureau of Investigation during 2016, matters that would eventually be investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
Trump is also raising money from large donors, holding events in San Antonio and Los Angeles this month. The most expensive ticket at the latter event, entitling donors to a round table with the president, cost $150,000.
Unlike his first bid for the White House, a low-budget affair compared to other presidential campaigns in the era of Citizens United, Trump is planning a much better-financed re-election effort, with the goal of raising $1 billion. That’s a major change for a candidate who largely self-financed his successful bid for the GOP nomination, and ended by putting $66 million of his own money into his campaign. In his first quarter of fundraising after announcing his candidacy in June 2015 at Trump Tower in New York, he reported raising just $1.9 million, with $1.8 million coming from his own pocket.
Trump’s campaign and two joint fundraising committees, Trump Victory and Trump Make America Great Again, combined to raise $127.2 million in his first two years in office. By contrast, former President Barack Obama had been in office more than two years before he headlined his first re-election fundraiser. Former President George W. Bush raised just $268,423 during his first two years in office, FEC records show.