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Big business rallies behind Joe Biden

March 15, 2020, 10:00 AM UTC

 Joe Biden’s surprise Super Tuesday win—followed closely by his decisive primary victories in states like Michigan and Missouri on March 10—jabbed his floundering campaign with a shot of adrenaline, vaulting him ahead in the polls and the delegate count. But as dramatic as those gains may be, they pale in comparison to what the triumph is poised to do to his campaign coffers.

At the end of 2019, it took the Biden campaign a full three months to drum up about $22 million, a figure that put him squarely behind Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Mayor Pete Buttigieg. In the week following his 10-state victory, Biden brought in the same sum in just five days.

“It’s an avalanche now,” says John Morgan, an attorney and top bundler for Biden, of the incoming interest in backing the former Veep. The question has gone from, Will there be enough cash to get through the month? to “Will there enough time in the day to go to all of these fundraising events?” says Morgan. “Everyone is clamoring to hold them.” (The Biden campaign did not respond to requests for an interview.)

Biden has long had the backing of some deep-pocketed execs, such as former U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and Avenue Capital Group’s Marc Lasry. But in the days since Super Tuesday he’s attracted new ones. Gilbert Andrew Garcia, managing partner of bond firm Garcia Hamilton & Associates and former supporter of Mike Bloomberg’s presidential campaign, says he’s now “100% behind Joe”—as is the ex New York City mayor himself. Bloomberg has pledged to throw his financial might behind his old rival and reportedly plans to create a new organization to help Biden win in six primary battleground states—and eventually take on President Donald Trump. 

Biden, who had just $3.4 million to spend on ads in Super Tuesday states—as compared with Sanders’ $18.5 million—is expected to use his newfound cash to boost staffing in key states and up his ad profile. Indeed, after his initial surge Biden invested an additional $10.3 million in TV spots in states like Ohio, Florida, and Michigan, outspending the Sanders campaign, according to data from Advertising Analytics. 

Another likely budget line: aiding down-ballot congressional races, says Lawrence Norden, director of the Brennan Center’s electoral reform program. Part of Biden’s appeal is his promise to hold the House and turn the Senate blue, so backing those races is essential to buttressing his support. 

Team Sanders, meanwhile, says it’s not cowed by Biden’s growing war chest. “Bernie doesn’t spend his time holding fancy fundraising events to ask billionaires for money,” says digital fundraising director Robin Curran. 

Of course, if Biden’s bid to land the nomination is successful, he’ll face the President—and the roughly $93 million the Trump campaign had on hand at the beginning of the year. Time will tell if Biden’s bankrollers are ready to go dollar-for-dollar with the power of the presidential purse. 


Big Number

$22 Million

Biden’s five-day fund­raising total after Super Tuesday; last year he raised the same amount over three months

Sources: Biden campaign; FEC


A version of this article appears in the April 2020 issue of Fortune with the headline “In the Money.”

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